There have been a lot of changes in our lives in the past year or so, and sometimes I forget about them because I tend to just cope with what I'm going through in the best way that I can, and then get over it because it's done. But Teenybop isn't finding it so easy.
In the past year we had a baby, our car blew up so we got another one that blew up, and now we have our current car. During that time my father moved up from Florida to live with us, then moved back. We also lost Private Ryan's grandfather to cancer, then almost lost his grandmother too. Teenybop has gone through all that, plus she was diagnosed with ADHD and ODD, she was prescribed Focalin XR, switched to Concerta, and now has recently had Focalin added back in the afternoon as a booster to her Concerta. Not to mention having to learn to share her mommy after being an only child for so long, and Private Ryan's enlistment brings a whole new round of changes which are necessary but no less challenging.
So I guess it's no wonder my little girl is depressed.
But still, I feel like a total failure. I remember her like this, always smiling, always playing, running, giggling. Now she is a different child, often angry and manipulative. She often plays alone now, even if we invite her to play games with us. I miss my little girl, my little sweet Teenybop who was so lovable, playful, and full of joy. And I hate what ADHD has done to her. I am so heartbroken to know that she hates her medications, but that she hates herself and the way she is so out-of-control without them. I hate that her sadness has caused her to draw into herself and become quiet and inward thinking. I ache to be able to fix things for her, to restore her to the way she once was, to remind her of how nice it can be to cuddle up together, to remind her of how fun it can be to play and hang out as a family. I want to be able to show her the positives that ADHD/ODD brings to her personality; the determination and focus that come with those disorders can be amazing if only focused in the right direction. I want her to see how wonderful she is, how much we love her, and how much she brings to this family. I want to hold her and apologize for where I've failed her, to fix all the hurts in her little heart, and to ease her fears about the changes in our future. I want to help her focus on the excitement and the adventure, the joys of a better life, and the joys to be found in the life that we have right now.
But this morning we had such a blow-up with her ... She is very mature for six years old, very grown up. You can imagine how grown up just by looking at the picture of her above ... this photo is three years old and she was anxiously awaiting her fourth birthday. As grown up as she looks in that picture she was only three years old, and she has grown up so much since then. She is like a miniature adult stuck in the tiny body and structured life of a six year old, miserable and waiting to get out and live her own life. Our blow-ups aren't about a child screaming and crying, throwing herself on the floor. She yells and says vile things, then slams things around, the same as any teenager. She reminds me of myself when I was fifteen ... and I have never dreaded anything the way I dread her teenage years. Then again, I suppose it is possible that if she is more like a fifteen year old now, maybe she will be more grown up and mature at fifteen, better able to understand and relate to her parents? That is how I was ...
But in the meantime, my sweet little daughter is now a girl who I am terribly afraid for. I am so afraid that she will make the wrong choices as she grows, that she will remain a selfish person who is angry and combative. I am afraid that she will be lonely, I am afraid that she will stay depressed. I am afraid of losing my daughter, of watching helplessly as she drifts farther and farther away from us until we can no longer reach her.
I am afraid, deathly afraid of blowing it as I struggle to parent my child. I am afraid of spending the rest of my life as a mother feeling like I have failed my most important task, or feeling that I have been a lousy example to her. And I am endlessly driven to my knees in prayer for my very own prodigal, hoping that someday she will come back to us and find her place in this family.