The Aftermath of Mother’s Day

Field of grass and flowers with James 4:13-14 in the forefront.

I survived Mother’s Day, and this year it wasn’t horrible.

I’ve shared before that I don’t love this particular holiday, but we faced a new problem this year.

Do we let the grands speak to their mother on Mother’s Day? Since the grands came to live with us, their mother has been out of contact as Mother’s Day rolled around each year. This year is different.

I ended up letting them talk to her. She begged all week, but I told her I couldn’t promise anything. I’m not heartless.  I had my reasons.

On the morning of Mother’s Day, they asked if they could buy Mommy something or send Mommy a card. I told them we couldn’t; I have no idea how to send her something.

Because they asked about her, I decided to let them talk to her if she called. I don’t have the ability to call her, so I waited to see if she would try.

She did. She’s allowed six minutes for a phone call, and I told her, “Yes, you can talk to them, but you can not tell them where you are or what you’re doing.”

She agreed. My heart cracked when I heard the excitement and surprise in her voice. I want to help her, but I can’t do that if she won’t help herself first. My priority is helping her children.

Why did I ask her not to tell them anything about her location? Because she confused and disappointed them last year with promises she shouldn’t make. She’s not in the clear yet, and I’m not going to talk about what she’s doing currently. Suffice it to say that her children might find hope too soon if she gave them more information.

Meanwhile, we get to deal with the aftermath of this brief phone call. It’s a tough decision to make for caregivers of children. The children want contact (most of the time), but after the contact, confusion and grief rises to the surface. It’s a balancing act of trying to keep them positive while acknowledging how yucky their situation is. . . and that they have no control over any of it.

Still, we had a good Mother’s Day. I’ll take that.

 

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Happy Mother’s Day

“She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭31:26-28‬ ‭NIV‬‬

We Are Wonderfully Made

I’ve hesitated to write this post. I suggest you don’t read it if you’re eating or about to eat because I will be talking about bodily functions. Unfortunately, this is where I am this week, in fact for the last few months.

When the grands came to us, our grandson was not fully potty trained. He was four. He knew how to use the bathroom, but his parents had not helped him practice going regularly. I guess they didn’t have time to worry about it but had time to clean him up afterward. Like that makes any sense.

Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; Galations 6:8a

When a child isn’t properly potty trained at the right age, they experience problems down the road. The muscles that control bowel movements lose their ability to sense the need to go. What happens? The child doesn’t go. They don’t know they have to go. Then they become constipated. Then the body tries to get rid of it. This means leakage. This means accidents.

We didn’t immediately understand this. We knew our grandson wouldn’t go but within a few months managed to get him settled on a schedule. Then we hit K-5. He did ok the majority of the school year, but eventually the leakage started. When he first came to live with us, we always carried spare clothes. I started doing that again. I warned teachers about the problem and asked them to try and notice any signs or odors.

That summer he had a day when it flooded out of him. He was attending a summer day camp, and I had discussed his problem with them. When I picked him up, the poor little guy had it running down his legs. He stank. His pants were full. Flies were swarming him. I smelled him from a good twenty feet away. In fact, before I could see him, I asked about the smell. The camp counselor said it must be something in the air because she’d been smelling it for hours. THEY MISSED IT! I was livid. I wanted to cry for him.

Needless to say, I pulled him out that day and filed a complaint.

When I filed the complaint, the director asked me, “Why didn’t he tell us?” A valid question, but I felt like he was trying to shift the blame. My response was, “How did they miss this?”

I’ve learned a lot about the ramifications of not training a child to use the potty at the correct age. If you don’t take the time when they’re young, you’ll spend a large part of their childhood dealing with it.

We go through periods when everything is fine, but the older he gets, the harder it is to know if he’s gone or not. He’ll say he did, but he lies about it. If he hasn’t, the problem starts up again.

Let’s face it, the last thing a seven-year-old boy wants to do is sit on the toilet for ten minutes a few times a day.  Which is what he has to do if he’s having troubles.

The body can relearn how to handle this. I learned that this week from a psychologist who works with our gastroenterologist. To learn after three years of frustration that we can retrain the muscles is such a relief! I have hope thanks to this tiny bit of information. I don’t know why I didn’t figure this out. Even, the Psalmist knew:

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
Psalms 139: 14

 

We are wonderfully made. God doesn’t make junk. Our bodies are amazing, but children need to be taught the basics of living. Parents need to take the time to help them learn. That’s really the reason for this post. Please train your child to use the potty.

And for those of you who work with children daily, I’m guessing you see this more than most people realize. You can be a big factor in helping these children and their families. Advise them to see a specialist. Be kind and compassionate. Let them know they’re not alone. Don’t let your disgust show. That’s what these children fear the most.

We’re still dealing with this problem, but the psychologist has given me more practical advice than anybody in the last three years.

I, actually, have hope that he can live a life without humiliation and embarrassment.