A Slight Melt: What was to be a quick visit to our daughter’s apartment yesterday evolved into a longer familiar episode in which an array of discomforts and stresses was expressed. The technical aspect of the Facebook issue was resolved prior to my arrival with a defriending. But the emotional aftermath with some spill over into relationships at her Day Services Options program, “She gets into my business. I can’t stand it.”, kept me seated on the red couch longer than anticipated. Her residential coordinator was by our side the entire visit and provided that steady empathy and caring that always touches my heart. At the end of what turned into a sticky visit, sticky in that our daughter’s mood never really shifted, sticky like goo that cannot be removed no matter what you use, the genesis of the storm emerged: hormones.
To Cry Or Not To Cry: I often notice that when my daughter begins to cry while telling folks of some upset, usually about bossy dorm-mates or male friends who are angry at her, many plead, “Oh, don’t cry.” This surprises me. As a therapist/mother, I view crying as a cleansing operation. Of course cry. So yesterday I took it upon myself to clarify that issue with her residential coordinator. Though she rushed to our daughter’s rescue offering to speak with folks running her DSO about the person who gets into her business (and apparently everyone else’s), a perfect approach, she also urged her not to cry. So intrusive mom did a short lesson (privately and on the cell) with the staff member “Always let her cry”, explaining my thinking and owning that, as a therapist, this is part of my belief system, my bias. Forgive me for I cannot help myself.
Distinguishing Between Friendship and Romance: Something was helpful for our daughter in the red couch session. We spoke of the young man whose inappropriate behavior has brought her significant distress yet she keeps allowing him to contact her, despite the inevitable breakdown of civility. I explained that the young fellow has difficulty distinguishing between friendship and romance. A light bulb went off in her head and she repeated, “He (name withheld) can’t tell the difference between friendship and romance.” She tossed out “distinguished” and put it in her own words. Having an explanation in hand for his attitude and behavior brought her relief. Further, I stressed, any communication acts as encouragement and adds confusion for him, as in, don’t answer his calls. Restraining the impulse to pick up the call will take work.
Universals With A Twist: Yes, these are universals but in the special needs world not only do you have to spell them out over and over, but you have the liberty to do so. In the typical world of a mother and her twenty-one year old child, this wouldn’t be so easy. The upside to the downside of the special needs world is the permission to keep “mothering.”
No Horses, No Dogs: We are planning to head out to Long Island though the opening day of The Hampton Classic has been postponed due to Hurricane Irene, which eliminates both the ASPCA animal adoption day volunteer option for our daughter as well as attending the horse show. Something that had been anticipated for six months is kaput. I feel so sad for our daughter but I will endeavor, with the aid of our friend, to find another ASPCA event that she can attend.
Crazy Mom? No, not entirely. Our niece’s house has a generator that probably works better than ours, and at this hour it remains unclear whether Irene will deliver the threatened full punch to our shores or a tropical powerful poke. Fingers crossed.
©Jill Edelman, M.S.W., L.C.S.W. 2011