I am the eldest child in my family and the eldest of a generation on one branch of my family tree. I was brought up in the 70s by very young parents who gave me the responsibility of looking after my younger sister when I was eight years old. I remember my sister leaving a post on a facebook feed one day thanking me for bringing her up. At first I thought she was being a bit dramatic, but then I started to think about it, and she was right.
I had no choice but to be the brave one, I was the eldest, I should have known better, I was the one that needed to be responsible and make sure we both got home from school ok,that we were safe in the house together, that we were safe on the 7 hour bus trip together, that we were both safe in the giant storm that hit Brisbane in 1985. I was the protector, while not even having a moment of thought about who was there to protect me.
As a consequence of hearing “you’re the eldest, you should know better”, I declared that if anyone said these words to my son….the eldest child….the eldest of his generation…I would cut them off from my family forever….and I meant it. I was still being the hyper responsible one, but now for my son. “He is a child until he is 18, you will let him be the child.”
He had his second panic attack of his life yesterday. The first one only lasted a couple of hours and was three years ago. The one that happened yesterday lasted 24 hours.
My son is 12 in five sleeps, he is going to one of the Queensland children who starts High School next year and we chose an all boys school for him that is perfectly equipped to help our son grow into a man. We researched, we’ve been to every information night, we’ve spoken to other parents, we’ve mentioned it to adults in our circles and every report has been that it’s a great school. We’ve made the best choice for our son. He currently goes to a public school and sadly, none of his class mates are going to the same high school next year, so at orientation day on Tuesday he was there on his own.
Our neighbour’s son was there. Our boy even got placed into the same house as our neighbour – his father and I thought all the Christmas’ had come at once and showed our enthusiasm.
Then we are sitting in the hall and my husband is fighting tears trying to not let them fall out of his eyes. Not only did I have to look after my twelve year old, I had to go into compassion and understanding for my lovey as he struggled with the idea of his son growing up, but also his panic at the whole idea of a change of school.
You see, and now we are going into the Emotional Strength lesson, my husband hates change. With a passion. It causes the foulest moods. He has lots of change in his life, in all areas of it, so this one for his boy is a biggy. He has been projecting his fear onto our son because he feels it, ‘it must be the same’ for our lad. No. No it isn’t.
Children are sponges. They will soak up an environment in a home quicker than Alice from the Brady Bunch.
So, my lovey caused the first panic attack in our boy a few years ago when he told him as a nine year old that he was to look after me when I took him out to my Aunt’s farm for his first ever holiday there at Easter time. I had to leap into action to make sure everyone knew that I was the one responsible for the child, that I’d been looking after young children since I was eight, and we’d be quite fine.
The panic attack that last 24 hours was hard. How it showed up: It took one child to say that our boy couldn’t join in their game in the pool on the orientation day for all his fears to land, and stew, and set up camp. I tried the hands on Reiki, I tried counselling, I roped in my best friend Juli who is a parenting coach to not go to bed until really late so Tim could Skype with her in Colorado to get an idea of what was coming for him and that he would be ok. No change.
So, I did one of my big sessions for him, I pulled everything out of the bag and freed him of all the pent up emotion that was causing him to virtually be delirious. His iPod was flat, he couldn’t listen to it. He couldn’t sit at my desk, he was too weak. He had the shakes and the sweatiest palms even though he was stone motherless cold. I put him to bed again and he fell asleep.
Meanwhile my lovey, his Dad stayed right away and I had to repeat, “I’ve got this.”
You know those periods of time I talk about faith and trust? I had to be so FaT I can’t tell you. He was that distressed I had a faint glimmer of thought that I would have to get him medicated to calm him down. I stuck to my guns though, because I knew I’d get him through.
Thankfully, the iPod came good and he was able to listen to his session. He came out, he wasn’t shaking, he was walking normally but he said he still felt weak. He went back to bed, and came out at midnight and fell back to sleep in front of the tv.
The only woo-woo part – I cut the energy ties between him and his father – I asked what the energy tie looked like and it was something that was used to hold the Story Bridge together. So I knew I’d set my lovey free from the burden too.
I woke really early this morning hoping that what I was capable of doing for complete strangers was completely possible for my child.
Out he came and I asked him how he felt. He said he was ok and after about 30 minutes said he would be right to go to school.
30 minutes ago, he bound up our front stairs and said “I’m all good now Mum, nothing is wrong, I’m going to high school next year.”
So parents, I wanted to share this with you, because even though I’m an emotional strength specialist, when it’s my kids, I also had to get the sweaty palms and dab my forehead to stay in FaT that I was the best option for my child. You can do the same. When you know like you know what you need to do for your child, don’t waiver, you know what they need and you can be trusted that you will get through it and so will they. All children are born from our hearts desire, no matter how they show up. When that heart kicks in, it’s the thing to go with.
Given the turn around, I reckon I just burned off the last spark of doubt that ever existed in what I am able to do. I am also eternally grateful for being the one who has had to hold it together since I was eight.
I was made for this job.
Now… where’s that bottle of wine.