D-Man is 18 Today.

My youngest son is turning 18 today. I cannot begin to count the years. His joyful spirit, insatiable curiosity, artistic talent and eye for the spiritual has left his father and myself deeply changed. I guess he’s finished with his job of raising us to be good parents. He’s an adult now. WOW. Am I ready? – nope.

And Some See Chariots

When my boys were born, I kept the baby monitors on full blast so that I could hear the slightest sound and run in, should they need me. When they were sick, I slept on the floor next to their crib. You might say, I was a zealous new mother. I don’t know who learned how to sleep through the night first, me or my boys. Even today, I still have one ear cocked just in case.

My youngest son has epilepsy. Dillon had his first grand mal seizure while napping in our bed at six-years-old. (If you don’t know what Grand Mal means, it’s where the whole body convulses.) He’d had a migraine that morning and we were resting. The seizure took me by total surprise and I called the paramedics in a panic.
I would try to sleep in our bed after that and would invariably wind up on his bedroom floor listening. I kept this pattern up for about a month, before finally letting go. A year went by before he had another seizure.

On Father’s Day 2000, I could hear Dillon hiccupping in the hallway. He had gotten up to sleep by the vent like he does on so many other nights. I got up to check on him and move him back into his own bed only something wasn’t right. When I sat down next to him to wake him up, I noticed that something was wrong. His eyes were fully dilated and when he saw me he got up with great difficulty. Using the right side of his body only, he began to crawl towards me. I grabbed Dillon and pulled him onto my lap. He had lost all strength on the left side of his body and his speech was slurred and slow. I’d thought he’d had a stroke and Jeff called 911.

The paramedics arrived pretty quickly, and said that he had indeed had a mild stroke, or TIA as they call it. And off to the hospital we went. CT scans revealed nothing except that, Dillon had not had a stroke, he’d a seizure.

What Dillon was experiencing was the after effects of a nocturnal frontal lobe seizure. His motor skills and muscle strength did return after a while. His memory of our family trip to Disney two weeks prior, did not return. The short-term memory loss was permanent.

Dillon had a dozen more seizures before Epilepsy was diagnosed. Even then it took months to get it under control with the right medications.

Both Dillon and I were afraid to sleep at night. My maternal instincts kept me awake listening for the slightest noise, so that I could run in and be there should he need me. I did not have the strength to sleep. My friends and I prayed continually for healing and for peace.
Every night our family would pray together that Jesus would hold Dillon while he slept and that God would send his angels down to watch over us and keep all of us safe. And we would try to crawl in to His lap for peace and comfort.

One night while we were sitting on our back porch swing rocking and singing together, Dillon asked me how I knew God would send his angels. I didn’t have an answer for him, so I lied. I told him I just do, that it was about faith. But he looked up and said, “No Mommy. How do you KNOW He will?”

What happened to the easy questions, like “Where do babies come from?” That one I had an answer for. So I said a quiet prayer for the right words to say.

It was one of those crystal clear Oklahoma nights where the sky just goes on forever, and I pointed at the stars and asked him what he saw. (My intent was to say if God can hang the heavens then surely he could send a few angels to watch over a child.) Dillon looked at the stars and said something only a child could say,

“EYES!”

“Eyes?” I replied. “I see stars.”

He said “Yeah Mommy, ANGEL EYES!”

With that he ran out to the middle of the yard, threw his head and his arms back and said, “Wow Mommy! Look at all the angels God sent to watch over me!” Then he gave me a quick hug and a kiss and ran back to bed, sleeping soundly for the first time in ages.

I did not run straight to bed and sleep soundly. I fell flat on my face before the God of the universe in my backyard and asked him to see what my son sees.

Elisha saw Chariots, Dillon sees angels and I am learning to see the hand of God at work in ways I never imagined.

And Elisha prayed,
“O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.”
Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes,
and he looked and saw the hills full
of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”

Dillon’s seizures remained in remission from 2001 to 2004. After finding new medications and treatments, Dillon has now been seizure free since October 5, 2008 and will be taking his drivers test next week.

Added: August 24, 20111 — I’m happy to report that Dillon has passed his driver’s test – first time out I might add – and is now driving. Something we never thought possible.

Fall Break: Letting Go Again

“Mom, could you please take your hands off the ceiling of my car? You’re freaking me out.” — D-man yesterday as he drove home from school.

I rode with my youngest for the very first time yesterday. He did great. I looked like spider woman with my arms splayed in every direction and my feet pumping imaginary breaks at various points of our 10 mile drive home from school. Learning how to drive is a rite of passage that I wasn’t sure D-man would ever have. He’s had epilepsy since he was six and until we got it under control, driving was a non issue. He hit his two-year seizure free mark on October 5. One more year, and we can buy life insurance. I am happy for him and sad all at once.

DH taught our oldest to drive, and I didn’t ride with him until he had his license. Because of D-man’s busy daytime schedule of high school and Vo-Tech, we are in the car a lot. It only makes sense that I  let him drive as much as possible even if it means my learning how to not hang onto the ceiling. While, I’m happy for him there is a real part of me that knows my baby is spreading wings, and I have to let go a little more. He’s a junior this year, and he’s already told us that he plans on leaving for Nashville once he graduates. Oh boy.

To keep me on my toes, our oldest called on Sunday to let us know that fall break starts on Wed, BUT he wants to go to Texas with some buddies for a couple of days and he’ll be home for the weekend. It seems there is this girl that he met through a friend – via Skype – and they are planning on meeting in person. Telling me he wanted to go to Cancun with his buddies for Spring Break would have scared me less than this. I was in a funk for two days. He’s 19, and he crossed state lines to meet a girl! sigh.

This is  a wonderful season for my guys. They are testing their wings, and as a mom I have to let them, even when I want to strap myself to their sun visor like some Saint Christopher amulet. We’ve raised them well. All I can do is keep creating a home worth coming home to – and good memories for them to keep in their hearts and trust that God knows the plans he has for them, plans not to harm them but to give them a future and a hope. (Jer 29:11) God doesn’t have grandchildren.

We gave them wings, guess I should let them fly hunh?

Living with Epilepsy: D-man has his permit

Pictures aren’t allowed. I wanted to take a photo of D-man with his permit, but he won’t let me. We got it yesterday. The permit that is. The licence will come in six months after he logs the hours and classes needed, as well as passes the state drivers test. 

It took longer than we wanted. He’d actually passed the written test in June. Then we had to wait on the neurologist to see us, file paper work and wait for the state to say yes. D-man had to be seizure free for a year before they’d let him drive. His last seizure was October 5, 2008 – I think we’re good. I’m excited for him and scared all at once. He’ll have to see a doctor regularly and have forms sent in for approval every year for the rest of his life — but he can drive. That is exciting.

Living With Epilepsy: Baseball

Suiting up and Showing up

It doesn’t matter that he’s never played before, neither has 3/4 of the team. It doesn’t even matter if the ball is coming at him at 70 miles per hour, he wants to catch. Turns out, he’s really good at catching. It doesn’t even matter that I have a thousand what if scenarios running through my head that put him in the hospital with my “I told you so’s” spilling out of my mouth. What matters is, he doesn’t want to be treated like a kid with a disability. He is a kid who wants to be a kid and unless I want to emotionally and spiritually cripple him with my own fears, I have to let him.

D has had epilepsy (ADNFLE) since he was six and is one of the bravest kids I know.

 He’s fought epilepsy, (16 months seizure free and counting)

 and he’s learning how to drive; standing behind a plate facing down 70 mph baseballs and runners twice his size ain’t nothin’ compared to that. So, I keep my what if’s to myself and let him be who he is, knowing that God doesn’t have grandchildren and that He holds my hands even when I’m watching my youngest play through my fingers in front of my face.

He even played third base.

Written by Deana O’Hara for Redemption’s Heart. All rights reserved.

For more information about epilepsy please see The Epilepsy Foundation.

To help fund research and find a cure please see their Research Funding Challenge today.

Six Months Seizure Free and the Freedom to Drive

Fire and Scales by Dillon O'Hara
Fire and Scales by Dillon O'Hara
Dillon's Pen and Ink Drawing for Art
Dillon’s Pen and Ink Drawing for Art

We’ve come a long way baby! Years ago,  epilepsy was a death sentence. They used to take epileptics to the city gates and stone them to death. We’ve grown from that to denial of rights.  50 years ago, epileptics were looked upon with fear and trepidation. They were denied jobs, houseing, and the right to drive. With good reason I suppose – at least on the driving aspect – if the seizures were not under control anyway. My uncles lived through a lot of unfair and prejudical behavior because of their seizures.

One was bi-polar on top of having epilepsy and commited suicide: throwing himself off the Peace Bridge in Buffalo when he was 36. The other died at 17 by mixing whiskey with his phenolbarbetol. Not having my uncles to learn from or to talk to is hard.

Epilepsy is a dirty little secret that no one in my family talks about. Until now. I refuse to label it dirty, and I refuse to keep it a secret. My son has seizures and I wanted to know why. I also refuse to allow this bump in the road to limit him.  Laws are changing. People with certain types of epilepsy are allowed to drive, provided of course that their seizures are under control. With the advances made in medicine, controlled epilepsy is probable and achievable.

Dillon has ADNFLE – or Autosomal dominant nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy, a very rare genetic disorder that is only now being treated properly. In the past, ADNFL patients were treated as psychotic disorders. These types of seizures can range from mild to  violent in nature and occur while sleeping or just before awakening. They were believed to be night terrors or part of a larger psychiatric disorder.

ADNFLE patients do not typically test well, which is probably why we had such a hard time with finding the right medications and a proper diagnosis. The EEG’s and MRI’s tend to come back normal. The only way to capture a truly abnormal EEG is to undergo a sleep study while wired for sound and hope he has a seizure during that time. It took two studies to finally capture his seizures on tape. Seizure activity can be dormant for months at a time, and rarely if ever during the day.

Dillon’s diagnosis went from it is epilepsy to we have no clue, for years. The spans of no activity and the palsy like side effects in the morning threw our doctor off.  It wasn’t until we went to the Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth last summer, that we knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was epilepsy and what kind. I’ve also found out there is a name for that muscle weakness he some times experiences. It is called Todd’s Palsy.

These are things I did not know before this year. But they are things I know now and I’m happy for that.

Today is a very special day in the O’Hara household. Dillon has reached his six month mark of being seizure free for the first time in over six years.

What that means is  Dillon gets to learn how to drive and he could not be happier.

Epilepsy Claims Celebrity Son (Sad Blog Warning)

This news report absolutely ripped my lungs out today. It hit a little too close to my heart and my deepest fears. John Travolta’s Son was found dead Friday. – John’s son Jette was only 16 and had epilepsy caused by a childhood illness when he was two. Jette apparently had a seizure in the bathroom and fell and hit his head. Autoposy results are pending.

Epilepsy isn’t supposed to be a death sentance. I know it can be. I know there are strands – rare strands – that are. But still. This one saddens me. And this is the second case I’ve heard about in just two weeks. One from my sweet friend in England who lost her baby girl to Wests Syndrome and now this story.

There are days I wish I didn’t have to remind Dillon to take his meds. There are nights I still jump up out of bed because I heard something, and find nothing but a sleeping child. There are days when he asks me to teach him how to drive, and I have to say not yet – six months seizure free and then I can teach you. And I feel, not quite pity, that’s not it, just kinda sad for him. If that makes sense.

And then I hear stories. I talk to Fi’s Mom about how we might finally have this undercontrol, having no idea they are fighting for their daughters life that week – and she loses – and I feel guilty even though I know I shouldn’t. I had no way of knowing. I knew they were in and out of the hospital, but I didn’t know how bad it truly was.

Please keep the Travolta’s and Fi’s family in your prayers this month.

Thanks.

ps.. for those who are wondering about Dillon’s Diagnosis – I never did post it – you can find more information here (ADNFLE). Thanks. I’ll write more about it later.

In the Face of Angels and Chariots of Fire.

2 Kings 6:15-17 (NIV)
“When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” the servant asked.

“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

And Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”

Elisha was outnumbered. The enemy laid in wait from every side, and yet he wasn’t afraid. His servant? Well that was a different matter. It wasn’t the first time that Elisha had chariots. He was there when his mentor Elijah (2 Kings 2:12) was taken up in a chariot of fire. He knew they were there – and he prayed that God open the eyes of his servant that he might also see.

Sometimes we miss the chariots that surround us – sometimes God uses the faith of a servant/child to open our hearts to the possibilites of faith. Open the eyes of our hearts Lord, that we like Elisha may see your chariots.

When my boys were born, I kept the baby monitors on full blast so that I could hear the slightest sound and run in, should they need me. When they were sick, I slept on the floor next to their crib. You might say, I was a zealous new mother. I don’t know who learned how to sleep through the night first, me or my boys. Even today, I still have one ear cocked just in case.

My youngest son has epilepsy. He had his first grand mal seizure while napping in our bed at six-years-old. (If you don’t know what Grand Mal means, it’s where the whole body convulses. Pretty scary stuff. ) He’d had a migraine that morning and we were resting. The seizure took me by total surprise and I called the paramedics in a panic.

I would try to sleep in our bed after that and would invariably wind up on his bedroom floor listening. I kept this pattern up for about a month, before finally letting go. A year went by before he had another seizure.

On Father’s Day 2000 Dillon woke up with slurred speech, short term memory loss, and substantial muscle weakness on the left side of his body. The paramedics said it was a TIA or “mild Stroke.” The neurologist called it “Epilepsy” which really just translates to “seizure disorder.” or more simply put “Out of Mom’s Control.”

I don’t think so.

Both Dillon and I were afraid to sleep at night. My maternal instincts kept me awake listening for the slightest noise, so that I could run in and be there should he need me. I did not have the strength to sleep. My friends and I prayed continually for healing and for peace.

Every night our family would pray together that Jesus would hold Dillon while he slept and that God would send his angels down to watch over us and keep all of us safe. And we would try to crawl in to His lap for peace and comfort. Everyone, in their own beds, and no sleeping on the floor.

One night while we were sitting on our back porch swing rocking and singing together, Dillon asked me how I knew God would send his angels. I told him I just do, that it was about faith. But he looked up and said, “No Mommy. How do you KNOW He will.”

What happened to the easy questions, like “Where do babies come from?” That one I had an answer for. So I said a quiet prayer for the right words to say. How do I explain that I heard that prayer somewhere – I had no idea if it’s real or not, or where I heard it. I just did and thought it was cool.

It was one of those crystal clear Oklahoma nights where the sky just goes on forever, and I pointed at the stars and asked him what he saw. (My intent was to say if God can hang the heavens then surely he could send a few angels to watch over a child.) Dillon looked at the stars and said something only a child could say,

“EYES!”

“Eyes?” I replied. “I see stars.”

He said “Yeah Mommy, ANGEL EYES!”

With that he ran out to the middle of the yard, threw his head and his arms back and said, “Wow Mommy! Look at all the angels God sent to watch over me!” Then he gave me a quick hug and a kiss and ran back to bed, sleeping soundly for the first time in ages.

I of course, did not run straight to bed and sleep soundly. I fell flat on my face before the God of the universe in my backyard and asked him to see what my son sees.

Elisha saw Chariots, Dillon sees angels and I am learning to see the hand of God at work in ways I never imagined.

It is so easy in today’s world to feel outnumbered.
Feeling isn’t the same as real.
Sometimes we need our eyes opened
Sometimes we just need to look for chariots.

(February 10, 2014) – Dillon is seizure free today – five years, six months, and counting.

And Elisha prayed,

\”O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.\”
Then the LORD opened the servant\’s eyes,
and he looked and saw the hills full
of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”

 

Success with Lamictal


It’s been five weeks since we made the trip to the Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth Texas, and I’m happy to report that Dillon’s new medication is working. He has not had a seizure since October 5. Dr Malik put him on a low dose of Lamictal (25 mg twice a day) and Depakote ER (250 mg twice a day.) Dr Malik has seen a lot of success with this low dosage combination and thought Dillon was the perfect candidate for that.

There are potential side effects that need to be watched out for and with the slow ramping up of the medication, we’ve been blessed to avoid those. The only one that came was a temporary and very mild case of pleurisy. That too is now gone.

Since coming home from Fort Worth, life has been busy. Between helping Charlie apply for colleges, fill out scholarship forms, and fall yard work, my boys have both competed in a Tri-State soccer tournament in Joplin (their team placed third overall) as well as a high school retreat. This week Charlie is in Washington DC with several classmates. When he returns, he’ll being finishing his applications, trying out for a play, working on a Youth Retreat, and being the world’s master guitar hero.

Tri-State was scary for mom, and annoying for Dillon. I went along to not only chear on my boys, but to keep an eye on him. Varsity soccer is rough and Dillon got creamed more than once. Creamed or not, he kept going back out there and I’m proud of him for that.
We only had one (or 2) real scares where he collided with the Goalie from Grace, took a cleat to the chest/throat, and hit another players shoulder with his head. All that and not a single seizure. He’s going to be just fine.

That is life in a nutshell right now. Living with epilepsy, means living, not waiting. And that is encouraging.

When Staying at the Hospital with Your Child

Hospital trips are never fun even when they are planned. If you ever find yourself with a planned hospital trip with your child, young or old here are a few ideas for you to take along.

1. Handheld games such as video games of all sorts – Dillon owns a PSP, but any hand held will do. Toys R Us and Wal-Mart also sell those $10 hand held type games for all ages.

2. A favorite animal or blanket. While Dillon is too old for a stuffed animal or security blanket, he does have a throw that my mother made him several years ago. Hospital blankets are actually very thin and the room can be cold. Having that extra throw helped keep him warm and did provide a sense of normalcy and home.

3. Art supplies. Younger children can be kept entertained with a coloring book and crayons. Dillon (my artist in the family) has his own sketch book and charcoal pencils. This did an excellent job keeping him occupied and giving him something productive to focus on rather than the wires glued to his head. It also provided a bonding opportunity between he and the medical staff – giving them something tangible to talk about other than his medical condition.

4. Books are always a favorite, unless you are 15. Most children’s hospitals have an excellent selection of books for your child to read while they are there.

5. Snacks – The hospital only serves three meals a day and let’s face it while the food is nutritious , tasty it isn’t. I could not get Dillon to really eat any of the meals they served even if they were “kid friendly.” We brought with us things like trail mix, fruit snacks, Jello/fruit cups, string cheese and slim jims. The floor had a family kitchen with a refrigerator. Be sure check with the nurse or doctor before allowing your child to eat them. Dillon was placed on a special diet our second day there (no sugar) and he could not have most of what I brought for that one day. They did however allow sunflower seeds.

6. Toiletries for both you and your child. Children‘s rooms are usually private, they also supply little bitty towels and baby shampoo. Thankfully I brought our own. While Dillon could not take a shower until the last day due to the EEG, he was much appreciative of having some personal comforts from home such as adult shampoo. If you do forget something from home, such as a toothbrush, you can find them in the gift shop at the hospital.

7. Do not forget money for meals for you. Dillon’s food was covered on our three day stay, mine were not. The hospital cafeteria has changed over the years offering a wide variety of excellent meals, but plan on spending no less that $7 per meal.

8. Some rooms come equipped with DVD/VCR players (at least in the kids ward.) so we brought different videos from home to keep entertained during the daytime. The hospital also had a child resource center that allowed us to check out movies and even a Wii Video game player with Wii Sports.

9. Cell phones and laptops if you have them. – Dillon and I both brought our cell phones with us. Since we have unlimited texting, he was able to keep in touch with his classmates during the stay. This was very comforting for him and it helped me stay in touch with my husband when phone calls just were not feasible. I brought a lap top just in case we had Wi-Fi access. The floor did indeed allow wi-fi, but most pages were banned from their server. Still I was able to access blogger as well as yahoo mail. This enabled us to keep in touch with friends and family who wanted updates during our stay. It also came in handy when I wanted to research medication suggestions or tests they were running.

10. A folder and a notebook. Being in the hospital means being inundated with facts, figures, information, and what not. There was absolutely no way I could keep all of the information in my head. Write down what they tell you so that you can look it over, and mark any questions you have for when they come back. I had a notebook folder that I was able to put all of the fact sheets and whatnot the doctors and nurses gave us while we were there.

I don’t suggest bringing unrealistic expectations, such as you and your child are going to get along wonderfully, that they are happy and compliant to be there or that you as a parent will handle every situation perfectly. Hospitals are a scary place and children will communicate that fear in many different ways. A normally talkative and enjoyable child can suddenly start acting out and withdrawing emotionally. Don’t force a kid to be happy to be there. Give them honest and age appropriate answer to their questions. Be there with them, love them, and keep your boundaries. Sometimes a child will test to see “How sick am I?“ by seeing how much they get away with. The more a child suddenly gets away with, the more sick they will believe they are. Remembering that will help a lot. And remembering to take breaks will help you a lot as well. Parents can be scared too, but we try not to show it because we don’t want to scare our kids. Be patient and understanding of yourself as well.

I brought Dillon’s homework with him thinking he would be able to work on it while we were there. This child was so sleep deprived, because of the type of testing we were doing, that he wasn’t able to work on it. And that’s okay. Work with the school and teachers for an extension on missed assignments if need be.

And don’t forget to take care of yourself. Most of the people on the ward were locals and had multiple families members there to help them. That isn’t always the case, and sometimes you’ll find yourself the primary caretaker while your child is in the hospital. Don’t be afraid to take walks from time to time (just check with the nurse first) or to eat downstairs. Mom’s and Dad’s need quiet moments too. What parents are offered to sleep on might not be the best accommodations (I had a hard mat-like couch thing) but do try to sleep or rest. I know it’s hard, I spent more time laying awake listening for Dillon than I did sleeping, but do try.

And take advantage of the things the hospital does offer. The child care people offered to come in and play games with Dillon to give me a break – but I didn’t take advantage of that. Hospitals also have chaplains available to talk too.. Just to talk to if you need a spiritual pick me up.

It doesn’t matter if you are dealing with a new diagnosis or a long term issue, every step, every test, every something new brings it own challenges, fears and / or joys. Have a support group of friends and family to talk to and lean on. Don’t be super Mom (or Dad) and think you have to do it all by yourself. You don’t. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

A Mother’s Guilt and God’s Grace for Parents.

There is nothing that shows the truth about relationships like being under video surveillance for 48 hours – with a teenager to humble you – or me rather. What on earth made me think I could handle that trip alone is beyond me… That was mistake – and a good experience all at once. It didn’t matter what I did – I felt guilty. I hated making him be there, but knew we had to be. I hated leaving my oldest behind – but knew he could handle it. And I hated watching my baby go through things a mom doesn’t want to happen. I felt guilty when I stayed, when I corrected unacceptable behavior and I felt guilty when I left the room for walks, or coffee or whatever. I only left him alone maybe three or four times a day. I needed those quiet times to pray or find other parents who were also someplace they didn’t want to be, looking for answers and healing as well. But I still felt guilty. False shame hits the best of all of us some days.

Dillon and I spent three days in a Fort Worth hospital, trying to find answers for his epilepsy. Neither of us wanted to be there really. Who would? I wanted answers and was willing to stay to find them. Dillon just wanted out of there, and definitely did not like the sticks (5 in all) , the wires, the food, or the camera. Or sharing a room with MOM of all people for three days straight. Not only did the staff get to see his seizures and eeg activity – they got to see the honesty of how a Mom and teenage son relate during three stressful days of constant activity, boredom, and no sleep. Oh yes, we gave them a great stress study. Mom’s and sons can get snippy with each other. 😉 Even snippy, they still love each other. Though I will agree that special needs nurses do not necessarily have a sense of humor. There were jokes that we shared that he thought were funny, but no one else did.

They don’t have many teenagers in that ward. Mostly they deal with young children – thankfully there were staff who had teenagers, and they understood the looks, the sighs and the breaks.

I can think of 100 things I could have done differently – but really, I’m just trying to change the reality of his being mad about being there. He had the right to be mad, and I kept the line of being mad is okay, taking it out on others is not. The rules at home still apply. I needed to let go of making it all okay – because it really wasn’t. Not for him anyway. There was no way Dillon was going to talk to me about what was going on in his thoughts and emotions while the camera was rolling. Conversation was not what he wanted. He had my company though – he knew I was there for him and with him. I did succeed in getting him to play with the Wii – I was so bad at the pool game he just had to help. Score one for mom. Mostly though, he drew – or watched a sports game or played on my laptop – he found a games web page. He wanted to speak to no one..

What they didn’t see – was the ride home. About halfway home tensions released and our relationship showed the other side – the best parts of honesty, communication and love. A child who will allow me to touch him and tell him I love him – but only when no one is looking. I would try to touch him in the hospital and he’d pull away in anger and teenage disgust. And yet riding home, listening to a metal station for part of the ride and comparing it to the rock music of my day – we find a middle road and grace in a changing relationship. Riding home, away from the cameras – he could find his voice and feel my touch.

Raising boys, is harder than I ever imagined it would be and yet God’s grace is sufficient and never ending. And his love – like a mother’s – knows no end.