Ruth Ayres hosts a weekly celebration on her blog. I appreciate this invitation to reflect on the positives of my week.
It’s been a doozy of a week with some incredibly difficult parenting moments but also some amazing breakthroughs. Here are five things I loved about last week:
1. Reading synergy. Something happened this week that I never imagined could ever, ever happen. My older son grabbed a book off my bed table and began wildly waving it in my face while also wildly attempting to tell me something. In his excitement, he could not string together a coherent sentence. But it eventually emerged that the book he found on my bed table that I am currently reading is the very book he checked out of the school library and is currently reading at school. This book is far above his reading level, so I am not sure how much reading is happening versus how much staring at a page and then turning it when he thinks the right amount of time has passed. But it was a sweet moment of connection over one of my favorite things.
2. Hearing from a former student/new teacher who has found just the right book to hook her students. Nikki is reading Wonder aloud to her 7th graders and here’s what she said about it: “I’m teaching Wonder–the very first book you ever recommended to me. The kids LOVE it. My heart smiles every time I teach it because when we stop reading for the day the kids groan and say they want to keep reading. They’re in love with reading.” One of her toughest students even cried when she read the description of Augie. The power of a good book!
3. Sleep. My brain has been working overtime trying to figure out what’s going on with my son and–once I did figure it out–how to work on it productively. Busy brain generally equals poor sleep. There was one blissful night this week when I slept for ten hours. Just what I needed!
4. Brandon Marshall. My son has watched A Football Life with Brandon Marshall twice this week. A Football Life is an hour-long documentary that profiles an NFL player. Marshall is a wide receiver for the Chicago Bears who had many issues on and off the field until he was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and got help. Now, he uses his football platform to speak about mental health issues and to raise money for mental health services and research. He was so open and honest describing how his mental illness got in the way of his relationships, his friendships, and his work. Once he decided he needed help, he was tireless in his efforts to heal–attending group therapy daily for three months, undergoing individual counseling, going to libraries and bookstores (!) to find books about his illness, even reading textbooks written for clinicians. There is no easy treatment for borderline personality disorder and no medications that help it. Marshall has had to learn new coping strategies and retrain the way his brain works. His goal now is to remove the stigma from mental illness and encourage people to tell their stories and get help for their issues. Here’s this big, tough, cool, immensely talented football player pleading with people to talk about their feelings for their own mental health! My son is diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and often has no idea why he acts the way he does. He has been in huge denial about his problems and about his feelings–which of course makes it very difficult to work with him therapeutically. We had a bit of a perfect storm here this week with many things contributing to the amazing breakthroughs we had, but certainly this TV show about Brandon Marshall was a huge factor. My son can’t stop talking about Marshall and how he wants people to get help and talk about their feelings and work on themselves. Thank you, Brandon Marshall.
5. Being a mom. This has been one of our hardest weeks ever, but it was also full of so many moments of grace, wit, love, and connection. There is no one braver than my son. And there is nothing in the world that I love more than being his mom.