Meltdowns used to be a common occurrence at our house. Our special needs children meltdown when they are not being understood, because of a sensory trigger, because they are transitioning, because they don’t understand something, or for a dozen other reasons. These meltdowns can include yelling, hitting, name calling, insults, aggression, and property damage. I have been told how horrible of a mother I am, how mean I am, and how one child or another wishes they never would have been adopted.
Sometimes, the children are hoping for a reaction. They want to hurt us as much as they are hurting inside. So I have learned that no matter what the insult is, I do not react. I remain calm. I tell myself often: “I am the eye of the storm. They can rage, I am calm.”
So one evening, Child X was raging. He was angry at us and became aggressive. As we used a hold, he became more angry and upped the insults. Anything he thought would hurt us, he yelled.
Finally, things calmed a bit, and I thought he might be calming down.
Nope! Out it came. The big one! The F— word. From my darling 8 year old!
Now understand, BJ and I don’t swear. We don’t yell at each other and we certainly have never sworn at each other. But there it was.
Child X waited–years of practice helped us not react. We sat as calm and quiet as we had been before. Any word from us would have fed the raging. So we were quiet and continued to wait for the storm to blow itself out.
After another 20-30 minutes of exhausting ranting, Child X was worn out and we were able to put him to bed.
As we readied ourselves for bed, I thought about his swearing. What was he thinking would happen if he used that word? That a bomb would go off? That we would explode? That we would be in such awe of his language that we would let him have whatever it was he was raging about? And I started to laugh. And I couldn’t stop.
Realize, I was exhausted. I was relieved that the hours of raging were over. And I was still processing how I felt about Child X using that word. But out came laughter.
I shared my image with BJ and he started to laugh as well. Tired, exhausted, worn out and all we could do was laugh.
We weren’t laughing AT child X, but at the use of the word. That one word that he thought might win the battle. We went to bed tired, but feeling better than we had before because we were able to laugh.
Now, I could have chosen to cry at his use of this language. I could have gotten upset myself and prepared a lecture. However, that wouldn’t have helped anything. So I chose laughter.
Laughter does not change the situation, but it does change me. I find myself more able to cope with the pressure and exhaustion of raising children (especially those with special needs) if I can find the humor in situations.
When have you found the humor in difficulties? How does that help you deal with difficult times?