Stop! In the Name of Love…


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!

Me: 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.

and more snacks under my pillow

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?”

7 thoughts on “Stop! In the Name of Love…”

  1. Wow. This brought tears to my eyes and chill bumps all over. Prayers for you and all of us.

  2. Sabrina – prayers for you, too. This is my biggest mission – to get over myself. I don’t have a tic problem. I have a heart condition that can only be softened by God. My kid? He’s fine. HUGE HUGE epiphany month for me. Prayers are changing – not to take away tics, but take away my own HUMAN and ridiculous views of what is okay and what is not. Tics apparently? Okay. Criticism of things uncontrollable? Not okay. We’ll ALL get through this. Love you, sister!

  3. What a great post. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and I understand your thoughts and feelings. There are some days when my 9 year old son’s TS is more difficult for him to deal with but I love being able to openly talk to him about it. Yes, Jesus made him this way and we love and accept him for who he is. My sweet boy has taught me more about God’s love than I ever imagined.

    I think my son, like your son, has dealt with the TS very well. Some days when my son is frustrated he says, “You know Mom, my life is not easy. I have four things I have to deal with: PDD, Tourette’s, OCD, and Dyslexia.” I’ll tell him that he’s doing a great job of handling it all and he smiles and we move on. Thank you for your words of wisdom and encouragement today.

    1. Theresa – Sounds like your boy a lot on his plate. But here’s the thing: What happened 100 years ago with kids like yours and mine and other parents’ kids? They were just “kids” with no labels. We are lucky that we have the labels to get the resources, but the key is to let them live as PEOPLE with gifts. Obviously you are doing a great job with your boy and I encourage you to keep on going. I will do the same. So glad you are here with us at Happily Ticked Off. You are valued!

  4. That boy has been an angel since the day we met him in preschool. You’re doing a great job, Andrea.

  5. My 8 1/2 year old can’t stop ticcing (many many tics) for the past couple of days. He had strep two weeks ago; I wonder if that has anything to do with it. Tonight as we’re sitting watching hockey I can feel his toes flicking on my back. I asked him what he was doing and he told me it’s a tic and that he does the splits with his big toe; we both started cracking up laughing….it’s great that he can laugh about that. Andrea, It’s amazing that your son is so confident , mature and relaxed when it comes to his TS. My son is very confident, smart and has lots of friends but when it comes to his tics, he’s very careful and so aware that he hides (tries to..) them at school because he’s afraid of what other kids would say. He needs to be himself and know that his friends won’t judge (he had one episode when he was picked on by a bothered classmate). I need to help him achieve that confidence/maturity and acceptance when it comes to his tics.

  6. its so good to hear another mom has these feelings. I just found your blog, and its an encouragement! Amen! Jesus gets us through everyday. As parents we don’t know what we’re doing but God knows what to do every step of the way. Besides he gave me my son because He knows that I can handle it as a mom and as a wife, and I am the best mom for him. Praise God!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.