Who doesn’t know that song? I was never a fan, which is why I sometimes don’t get the message. You know… STOP before you tell your husband every reason why he doesn’t do exactly what he’s supposed to do for you the moment he walks in the door after work and he’s toiled 10 hours and you’ve worked just as long and the kids are hungry and whiny and there’s no dinner made and you’re running on 5 hours of sleep and your kid is TICKING like a clock and you finally have had it UP TO HERE and you sit him down and, ever so nicely while the rice cooker steams for the millionth night in a row and… even though you are well aware that he can’t help his noises…. you have the following interchange:
Me: (Through gritted teeth): Sweetie, is it possible to breathe through that? I know you can’t help it, but it’s been almost a month. And, well, Mommy loves you so much but she just needs a break.
Stink: I can stop–
Me: Great! That would be great!
Stink: But you know it’s hard for me.
Me: I know. I do. But… well, I’m not a saint. After a while, I lose my patience. Maybe, just maybe… (Warning: Many of you saintly mothers, or people with tics yourself, might have issue with the following statement) … maybe we could consider getting you some meds to calm it down just a bit? Because, you know… it’s been kind of relentless.
Stink: How about I just take a Tic Tac?
Me: No. I’m… talking real pills.
Stink: (Big crocodile tears) But Mommy! If we did that, the tics would go away!
In the name of Jesus and sales on Two Buck Chuck Hooray! But why is that so bad?
Stink: Because it is how I was made!
Me: But I can’t be the only one who gets frustrated at the sounds at times. Doesn’t anyone ever get bugged in class?
Stink: Sometimes, but that’s their problem, not mine.
Me: (Standing on a very wobbly soap box and thinking “Thank God I have insurance when I ultimately break my spine more than I’m already doing”) But… it is in a way your problem if you can do something about it. (Oh my heavens, he’s crying I am the worst mother ever but I just keep on going because I’m EXHAUSTED) The drugs might just take a wee bit of edge off of them so I am a little less uptight and we’re never having this conversation again.
Stink: (After blowing his nose) Yeah, but why would I want to do something that would make me be just like everyone else… a brainless copycat who is boring and comes off drunk?
Me: (Flabbergasted) Dude, do you really like your tics that much? How is that possible?
Stink: (Shocked at his clueless mother) Because Jesus made me this way! (Then, excited) Hey, I know! Since I don’t have a problem with them but you do, why don’t YOU take the drugs!
Out of the mouth of babes.
And into my heart.
And now onto this blog.
NEVER again will I ever say something to my son. Especially after bedtime prayers later that night.
Me: Stink, I was thinking about what you said, and I want you to know how sorry I am.
Stink: About what?
He’s forgotten already? Doubtful, but generous.
Me: The tics! I’m sorry! I just get a bit nutty sometimes and this is not your issue. I’m thinking that I will continue to look up to God as a perfect model for me and I ask you to do that also. Perhaps by looking at God, you will be able to really forgive me because only He is perfect. And, man, I’m so far from it.
Stink gives me a huge hug.
Stink: Mommy, you are perfect! You are perfectly imperfect. Don’t you get it?
Squeak, squeak, gulp, goes my boy.
Inaudible sigh, invisible cringe, go I. But I say nothing.
Instead, I hug him close. He is practically the length of my body. His chest has broadened to the point where I can rest on it, so I do. Give him two years and he likely won’t want me to kiss him goodnight, let alone let me hold him. I’m saddened at this thought, but I brighten that perhaps by two years he’ll forget we ever had the earlier conversation.
He is so wise. Next to Jesus, Stink is my greatest teacher – perhaps because he embodies Jesus’ radical acceptance of flawed people more than anyone else I know.
Stink he loves me, yes I know, for he always tells me so.
As I fall asleep listening to his heart beats take over the sounds of his tics until there is nothing but quiet, I think of his wisdom about perfection and have more clarity than I’ve had all day. One word enters my mind and washes me in peace. “Duh.”
Check out more posts about Tourettes at the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome where this blog is syndicated.
* Photo of stop sign found on Flickr. Photo of my kid taken on the way home from Big Bear post mountain wind “I’m going to hurl” and pre “Oooh, we’re stopping for snacks? I feel better can I have some Nachos?”