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"Each of us must come to care about everyone else's children. We must recognize that the well being of our own children is intimately linked to the well being of all other people's children. After all, when one of our children needs life-saving surgery, someone else's child will perform it. When one of our children is harmed by violence, someone else's child will commit it. The good life for our own children can be secured only if it is also secured for all other people's children. But to work for the well being of all children is not just a practical matter-- it is also right!" - Lilian G. Katz, Phd.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Us? Successful?

My apologies in advance. I have taken an Ambien and felt the need to get this out, so if it gets incoherent, rest assured, it is not anymore incoherent than my brain usually is.

Recently, a major national news show contacted me. I have worked with them before and Konal and I were featured on a Segment in January 2000 on Childhood Onset Bipolar Disorder. It was the typical media experience. I had buyers remorse afterward, because it made Konal look bad, and he is not a bad kid.

So, now they want to do a follow-up. This followup will be an hour long segment, and the producer led off the conversation asking if we had any tape of Konal raging. I was tempted to say no immediately. But the we started talking. We spoke about what Konal is doing, our in-home supports, my career helping other parents.

After 20 minutes of talking, she said something that took me by surprise. She told me she wanted our family at the end of the segment, where they were going to feature success stories. She wanted to know if they could film him doing youth leadership activities and me doing parent support, and talk to us about our journey to stability and positive outlook.

I told her that I was a tentative yes, and that Konal had to agree and I needed to check with his caregivers and agencies.

By Monday, we knew. We are in. Konal agreed, even after I emphasized the possible risks of doing this. He re-watched the original segment and said, "Mom, I need a chance to show that kids like me can do OK too".

I was never prouder of the child.

But now I am thinking about being called a successful family. I feel like a failure in parenting frequently. Is there something more I could be doing? So, I did what I usually do. I trapped Konal in the car with me for a decent amount of time (That is the only place he will talk) and we talked.

And we talked

And Konal cried, and we switched subjects.

We talked about the good, the bad, and the ugly. We found our own definition of success. We faced hard choices coming up, and realized that they will happen, and that we had to make due.

We found our connection, and our love was reaffirmed.

What makes us successful:

  1. We have family
  2. We have family by choice
  3. We have friends
  4. And they are all there for us
  5. We talk
  6. We are set well materially (This was Konal's contribution- We have gaming systems)
  7. We care
  8. We are hopeful
We then spoke about his schooling, my schooling, and his goals. He made some new ones, reexamined some old ones. I did find out that he is "NOT" moving away to go to college. He would miss me too much (??!)

We talked about being a teenager and about girls. We talked about the angry that comes from feeling out of control.

And we talked.

I love my child. He will be just fine. I just need to stick out this incredible journey with him.