By an Adopt4Life Member
“You've got to know when to hold'em, know when to fold'em, know when to walk away, and know when to run..."
Anyone remember that song?
Wondering why I am quoting the lyrics of a Kenny Rogers song in an adoption blog?
Here's the story. My son was five years old at the time. Like many children this age, we had him enrolled in sport ball, swimming lessons, skating lessons and aftercare at his school. However, maybe not as typical as his buddies, I had to drag him to each and every one of these activities. I do mean drag. It began with fighting traffic to get home in time to feed him food he wouldn’t eat, then battling some more to get out the door with all that needs to go with us. Once I finished wrestling him into his car seat, I would then blare the music in the car to drown out his random screaming about nothing. Once we arrived at our destination I would tell him not to run from the car. As soon as he was released from his car seat he bolted. I would then run after him when I had no fuel in me. He defied me and it made me more determined to control what was so clearly was not in my control.
My son’s behaviour was totally out of control. He was utterly agitated and I was completely irritated. We were both sleep deprived and our relationship was slowly deteriorating.
No parenting book had the advice I needed, but the lyrics to a Kenny Rogers song did. I remember the first time I folded my cards. It was the moment that the coach told me that he didn’t know what to do with my son. That he had never seen a child behave the way he did. I burst into tears. So we left and never went back. I folded and ran.
In the locker room before and after swimming. Getting him into the shower was an issue. Getting him out was an issue. As much as he disliked the lessons, he did love that warm shower and by the end of it we'd both be soaked. Changing him après shower was a nightmare. He hated having wet hair, hated being toweled dry and couldn't stand the chaos of a crowded change room. Then one day during mid-rage, he spit in my face. Kenny came to me once again. It was time to fold'em.
The day that I picked him up at aftercare and found him laying on the floor in the house centre worn out after trashing it. I dragged him out of the room and he asked me to pick him up. He was asleep in my arms in moments, completely exhausted. I folded. Aftercare was over for us.
I folded other times too. I quit my management position then took a full leave of absence. I folded, I walked away. In fact, I ran.
We moved to the country and changed schools. We changed everything that didn’t work for us. These were hard moments but they were those defining moments of saying enough is enough.
We found a new table to join. We walked away and started with a new hand.
Now we spend a lot more time laughing and enjoying life and each other instead of just enduring. He happily goes to school. He goes to a social skills class created for kids with ADHD. We are healing. He is starting therapeutic riding classes and I am going to start therapy for caregivers that go through experiences like we do. He is signed up for camp this summer that is designed for wonderfully unique kids like my little dude. I am hopeful that it'll be a better fit. However, if we get to camp and it’s not the right fit, I won’t wait until he spits in my face. If the cards aren’t right, we’ll fold'em.
I want you to know that just because it's not working with the cards you're playing with it doesn’t mean you can't make a better hand. That if you don’t like the cards you are dealt, you can fold, you can walk away and if you have to, you can run.
Listen to your inner Kenny Rogers, in the card game of life, he’s a wise man.