We’ve had contact with many different help groups over the past two years – some by referral through other (mostly government) organisations, some by direct contact. There was one we had been referred to, which took over a year to contact us. I’d been told by the organisation which referred us, that this help group was in high demand and very useful, so I was optimistic they might actually be able to make our lives better when they finally made contact. They sent out two people to assess our needs and to explain their services. So far so good…
The people they sent were clearly nervous and unsure of themselves. They spent the better part of an hour introducing themselves and their organisation, which was a very tiring experience since I was having to pay them attention while doing my usual looking after the two kids by myself through-out this meeting. Most of what they told me would have been better done via a brochure or similar (and indeed when they left they did give me brochures to further explain their operation). I waited patiently though, telling myself they would eventually get to the helping bit.
They were running out of time so they said they better get on to the assessment part so they could provide me with the much needed services. Yay! They get out their notepads, looking like they mean business, and they ask me the first question they require an answer to: Why do you love your son?
I was incredulous. I waited a year to see them, I waited an hour for them to finish talking at me, they finally get to the point where they are going to help me. And they ask me to explain my love for my son. Oh I knew the type of question it was – let’s all feel good first, and find the positive things! Their job though was to help me with services to make my and my son’s life easier, and especially to address the burn-out I was experiencing from having to constantly care for a high-needs child. We were not a problem family with abuse or neglect issues, and at no point would it have come across that I hated my son. I knew they were just going through their stock-standard questions, but their job was not to counsel me and that was never a service I’d requested from them, I just wanted some support and had been told they could provide it.
So I saw it as the final hoop I had to jump through before they could be useful to me, and I plastered a smile on my face to hide my utter exhaustion, and my frustration at them, and answered their unhelpful question. Maybe through this blog as well it is unclear why I love my son, since I discuss the hardships so much, so let me tell you what I told them:
I love my son’s sense of humour, and the wonderful sound of his laughter that always follows. I love his amazing desire to learn through all the challenges he faces – he just keeps trying to understand and achieve new things. I love the amazing skills he possesses – such as his precise memory, his awareness of direction that surpasses my own as an adult. I love him cause he’s so damn good-looking. I love him cause he’s mine.
So now you know, what they know, what I always knew. You think they’d get around to helping me – I’d waited so long, I’d jumped through their hoops. But they never did help, they only made my life harder by the end of it all (which will come up again in a future post).
There was something achieved with my interactions with this help group though – of this I was sure: I made them feel good about themselves. I suppose that’s a nice achievement, and I should have felt good about making them feel good – maybe after I’d dealt with the next destructive tantrum I’d find some time to stop and pat myself on the back for that…