As I look at the snow silently falling from a March sky after we had temperatures in the 50s, I am reminded about how quickly and how slowly change can happen and how unpredictable life can be. Two years ago at this time my youngest daughter was newly home from the hospital and we were frantically trying to help her stay alive forget about getting her to go to school, be social with friends, or participate in extra curricular activities. We safety proofed the house, kept a constant watch, made too many appointments with doctors, and lived in a constant state of fear that we would be making a trip back to the emergency room. We struggled every day with getting her out of bed and into school. And when she made it to school we struggled to get her out of her guidance counselor’s office and into the classroom. I kept waiting for change to happen like going from 50 one day to snowing the next to 65 the next but it didn’t happen just like that. Instead it was a gradual shift like the shift in the earth’s core temperature or the water temperature that is not so drastic so that people other than scientists don’t really believe it is happening. The shift happened but it happened in baby steps and with a few steps back in between.
So here we are today. Today. TODAY. Today my child is in school thriving. Today my child is THE lead in the high school play even though she’s only a sophomore. Today my child goes to school every day and doesn’t want to miss even when she’s sick. Today she has a busier social life than me. Today she is passing all of her classes and then some. Today she is happier more than she is sad. Today she asked a boy to her semi formal and he said yes and she is over the moon. Today she still battles with depression and anxiety and will tomorrow and the day after and the day after and the day after. But today she is better equipped to manage it and live with it. To LIVE with it. To live WITH it. Today the changes don’t feel as drastic or life altering or huge as they did 2 years ago.
As I sit and reflect on what I did and didn’t do during this time one thing becomes very apparent. It wasn’t about what I did, it’s about what I didn’t do this time. What I didn’t do was go onto the internet and search “What to do when your child is depressed”. I didn’t look up every side effect to medications. I didn’t read a surplus of blogs telling me how to parent my depressed child. I didn’t read anything regarding anything even remotely looking like parental advice. Instead the only thing I really did was listen. I listened to the doctors and the therapists and the counselors and most importantly I listened to her. I listened to her tell me to stop trying to activity her depression away. I listened to her tell me about the pain she was in and that it was really hard being in that pain. I listened to her beautiful inner voice tell me to just be with her in that space and to not try to fix everything all at once for her. I listened to the rhythm of her and I went with it. And sometimes I didn’t listen because hey, nobody’s perfect and then I had to take some steps back and repair what I broke. I listened to her asking me to love her and accept her for everything that she is and that somehow we would come through the other side. I learned the valuable lesson of just listening. I think in our busy world and our media driven lives we have forgotten that precious skill of listening. And not just listening with our ears or listening to words but listening with our eyes and our hearts and our minds and doing more than just hearing.
With this skill has come learning how to trust again. I trust that sometimes things are going to go well and sometimes not. I trust that things will shift and change and that if I can just hold onto the craziness of the change I will be ok and those around me will be ok. I trust in the process of change which has been a very hard lesson and one that has knocked me off of my feet at times. But every time I get back up, the trust becomes a little stronger and the process a little easier. Change can be difficult but it can also be beautiful. With that in mind, if the nor’easter planned for Tuesday could kindly go fuck off we in the Boston area would all greatly appreciate it.