My oldest son has been through a lot. Way more than a 10-year-old boy should ever have to go through. From the loss of his twin sister to brain cancer to his own battle with Type 1 Diabetes to adults disappointing him, he’s been through the wringer in more ways than one.
There was a time when our sweet little boy was so burdened by the difficulties he had faced that he couldn’t muster a smile for a single family photo. He would scowl and hide his face. He struggled to relate to other kids his age because he had walked through so much more life then they had. My husband and I have fought hard to help get him out of that place and to help our son find the joy that should come in childhood.
Last night I was laying with my little boy at bedtime just chatting about his day. He told me, “Mom, I realized something - I’m not sad anymore. And I’m not worried about anything anymore. Do you think that’s okay? Is there anything I should be worried about?”
It took everything in me to not burst into tears as I wrapped my arms around, and told him there is nothing for him to worry about. And it is a great thing that he just feels happy and safe these days!
As I finished tucking him in and walked out of his room, I was in awe as I reflected on the tremendous growth we’ve seen in our little boy. I’ve had the pleasure of watching him interact with his classmates and friends during a few year-end activities over the past two weeks and it has been such a joy to see him play and act like a joyful 10-year old kid! It’s such a simple thing, and yet such a huge victory!
It’s taken a lot of work to get to this place. We’ve sought help, we’ve had many, many tough days, but it has all been worth it to see our boy finally find joy in his own childhood. In fact, more often than not, he has the biggest, brightest smile in all of our family photos!
Our story might be completely different from yours. But if your kids are struggling with hard things, and your heart is aching as you watch them go through the ups and downs, please know there is help available for you! We have support groups in session now that are led by a licensed therapist that will help connect you with other parents who are going through similar mental health struggles with their own children.
These groups are meant to give parents a safe space to connect, work through their own feelings, and get ideas on how to tackle the tough pieces of childhood. If you are interested in joining one of our support groups, please visit https://www.oliviacaldwellfoundation.org/support-groups.html and sign up. The groups are free! And are also completely confidential. Any parent, guardian or caregiver can attend these groups whether their child has a diagnosed mental health condition or is simply struggling with depression, anxiety, PTSD, etc.
If you have any questions about the groups, please feel free to reach out to anyone on the OCF Staff. Just know you don’t have to walk this tough road alone!
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