Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Enough

In an attempt to organize my house, I've been rummaging through drawers I haven't looked in for awhile.  I suppose the fact that Oliver digs through everything and tries to eat anything he can get his hands on is forcing me to try to organize our life more (and move almost everything we own out of reach).

The other day, I pulled out some letters I'd written long ago when Elijah was probably two-years-old. The letters were carefully drawn on 8 1/2 by 11 inch card stock, the lines straight and curved and drawn in black permanent marker. Upper case on one side and lowercase on the other, I'd placed all 26 letters into sheet protecters.

When I saw the letters sitting forgotten in the drawer, I cried.

I remembered writing them out and then subsequently trying to teach Elijah the alphabet. I'd sit down with toddler Elijah, excited to teach him and he wouldn't look. He'd stay with me for mere seconds and then struggle to get away to go do something else.

You tried to teach him his letters and failed, the letters said to me.

The weight of that failure suffocates me in that moment, the forgotten letters taunting me. "Have I done enough?" I will ask myself. The word will repeat often in my head. Enough. Enough. Enough. Have I done enough? Am I doing enough?

I will think of all the times I could've worked on Elijah's self-feeding, but didn't. The times I sat silent instead of talking to him. The times I could have shoved carefully written letters in his face. The times I could have done more.

The older Elijah gets the more I realize that is simply impossible to have done enough. Nothing will be enough. Nothing we do will make his brain injury disappear, as hard as we try to help him overcome his challenges. I'm not superwoman. I'm not God. I can't heal a hurt brain.

For the past almost three years, Elijah has done approximately 25-30 hours of ABA therapy a week. He has school. He also does extra occupational and speech therapy. We just started music therapy. We're looking into doing hippotherapy with him (the therapeutic use of horses). It's a full-time schedule. It is more than enough.

And then I wonder if we are doing enough of the right thing. Perhaps we should be doing something else. Enough. Too much? Enough. We can only do so much; it's never enough.

And so, as the years pass, the more I realize that we need to live our lives. It's okay that I let ABA therapists do the bulk of therapy. I'm very involved in his therapy and what it looks like of course, but it's okay to just be mom sometimes. It's okay.

We love Elijah fiercely. We work with him when we can. We keep him busy learning in therapy. We rough house and throw him on the couch. We run outside. We kiss and hug (when he'll let us). We feed him and continue to encourage him to feed himself. We dance. We try our best. We accept Elijah for who he is. And it is enough. It is.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

You can't be experts in everything (ie, his therapies)..... just like his therapists can't be experts in loving him --- only you and Andy can be that!

Kathy Lausted said...

You and Andy have been wonderful parents to Eli. You have tried all that you can do. I'm sure you'll continue to find things to help both Eli AND Oliver. The one thing we all want to do is to make Eli whole. But only God can do that. While we wait for God, keep on loving him and enjoying every moment. This "Nana" is going to enjoy Eli and Oliver and the rest of my grandchildren. God gave them all to us. Thank you to both of you for that gift and for being great parents to two of our grandchildren. Love you, MomKat

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