I havent updated in a while. You know, when you feel like you have something you need to write.. but you just arent sure a) the timing is right and b) how to word what you are feeling... so you just dont write anything. Thats where I have been.
If you have followed my blog for any amount of time, you know what a character my son is. You know how he is precious and sweet and hilarious. But you also know, figuring out how to parent him has been so extremely hard. I will be the first one to tell you that I thought I had parenting ALL figured out.. before I was a parent. :) So some of the things we were experiencing with Jackson, we just figured was "normal" toddler behavior. Well some of the things we thought he would outgrow, he just hasn't.
We were put in a VERY ugly uncomfortable position at the church that we were attending. The preschool director of this church, just did not like Jackson. He was not the easiest kid in the preschool department. He would not always listen. He would not always participate. He would do his own thing. But he loooooooooved going to church. She made a decision regarding Jackson and his placement in Sunday School without talking with Craig and I, first. I, became a defensive mom and told her she would do it my way. I might not have handled the situation correctly- however I struggle to believe that it is any preschool directors position to determine the level of my child's maturity. (Craig was in the ministry for over 15 years and ran across quite a few immature 7th graders, but he never had the option of sending them back down to the childrens department.. Not the ministers decision) I am assuming my viewpoint, upset her, because she then chose to use my child to prove her point. She allowed her staff to try their very hardest to "force" him to do things (normal totally safe things), that he did not want to do, aka group time. Knowing that this would eventually lead to a fit. And then when he did throw a fit, no one tried to console him, they just let him lay on the floor and cry. Craig and I left church that day feeling completely hurt. Not so much for ourselves, goodness we can handle that lady. But for our son. Our FOUR YEAR OLD was essentially "bullied" by an adult. (I use the word bullied very carefully.. I feel like it can totally be overused). We know, that Jackson does not fit in any 4 year old box. He never will. But, have you ever met Craig or I... neither one of us fit in a box either. And I truly believe that when I bring my child to church, it should be a safe place. It should be a place where he is met where he is (regardless of maturity), and he is loved and shown compassion and grace. We had to make the decision that, this director was clearly incapable of showing that to our child. Thankfully, we live in Oklahoma, where there is a plethera of churches. We decided we would find a church that wanted to walk along side us as parents and help us teach our children about the most important relationship of all.
It was a sad day. Actually, lets be honest, its still VERY hard. Craig and I had to walk away from friends, from a Sunday School class that we loved. We had to walk away from learning from a new pastor, that we totally respected. Jackson and McKinley had to walk away from friends that they loved and looked forward to seeing every Wednesday and Sunday.
One bad apple, ruined the whole thing. But, Craig and I's job is to be an advocate for our son. We have to protect him.
Shortly after this experience, I went to dinner with a couple of dear friends to celebrate a new baby that was coming soon. We had some great conversations about our families. One friend, opened up about some different things that they were trying with their son. What she described was different but pretty similar to things that we have experienced with Jackson. It was SUCH a freeing experience. To know that we are not alone. And that we are not bad parents.
I am not going to lie, even though I knew it wasnt true, leaving our church that day, the thought crossed my mind, how we had let Jackson down as his parents. We clearly hadnt done everything we should do to make him "act right" in all situations. I knew, really knew, that we had done and were continuing to do the very best we could.. but still...
SO- we have decided that we are going to get him evaluated for Sensory Processing Disorder. If you look it up, Jackson doesnt fit the description fully. But I'm ok with that. He definitely has some sensory issues (hair cuts, finger nail cuts, showers, group time, etc), and I am excited for the possibility of some occupational therapy to help him figure out how to cope through some of these things. And then help Craig and I parent our way through them. I believe that we have been disciplining Jackson over some issues that he really can not help. We just need to figure it all out. I am excited.
Thankfully, we have had some INCREDIBLE teachers walk along side us during this journey. The kids go to a fantastic little school (daycare) in Norman. I have talked about this school on the blog many times before. But seriously, every day I am blown away with their love and compassion for my children. And clearly my kids FEEL loved and protected there. Last week, when I went to pick Jackson up, Ms. Leah met me and told me JACKSON LET HER CUT HIS HAIR. She cuts hair in addition to teaching, so I had mentioned to her, if she wanted to clean up Jackson's neck and around his ears, I would love her forever. Well Ms. Leah and Ms. Christie talked to him about it for a while, and then last week Ms. Leah asked Jackson if she could cut his hair and he said "sure" and did not throw a fit. AT ALL. Sure, she cut with kids safety scissors, but it looks SO good to me!!! Then today, it was class picture day. I dressed Jackson cute, but really did not expect for him to participate.... I got a text from Ms. Christie saying not only did he participate, he smiled in the picture! SO PROUD of him. And SO THANKFUL for these ladies. Every day, the teachers at Jackson and McKinley's school show them Jesus in their actions. I will be FOREVER grateful.
I am a proud mama! I am thankful for all the people in Jackson's life, who love him unconditionally and truly believe he is absolutely perfect. And for those few, that wish he could fit into a normal 4 year old box- you are missing out.