February 05, 2011

Writing as therapy

Sometimes I feel like I have no idea what I am doing as a parent.  When we thought about having kids, I never dreamed about having kids with special needs, or social anxiety, or all of the other labels that get put on our kids.  Some of those labels are great: smart, funny, loving, compassionate.  But the others sometimes throw me.

Our oldest is kinda a genius.  I mean- this girl at age 7 can do math problems in her head that make my head turn around backwards.  But she's a nervous and anxious kind of child.  She worries a lot.  She's often afraid to try new things.  She takes on other people's problems and that is a lot of pressure for a small child.  We took her to a counselor this summer who taught her lots of great coping skills for when she's feeling nervous or unsure or worried about something.  One of those coping skills was writing about her feelings.  Often times, her writings have been great starters for big conversations with her.  But last week she wrote something that nearly broke my heart in half.  She wrote about my grandfather's death.  He died over a year ago.  We loved him dearly and he was one of the most remarkable men I've ever had the privilege of knowing.  But I assumed that with the passing of time, that my daughter had "gotten over" losing our grandfather.  After seeing this, I realize that I was so wrong.

I was really proud of my daughter for finding the words to express how she felt.  We sat and talked about our favorite memories of him-how he was a jokester, how he had great nicknames for us (Meggie Lou and Sadie Lou), how he loved sweets and how he was always trying to pull one over on my grandmother. We talked about how he is having a wonderful time in heaven and that it is okay for us to miss him here on Earth.  I think she just needed a lead in to being able to talk about him. 

And if writing is a form of therapy, I suppose that I also just needed the space to write that I miss him, too.

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