As 2019 slowly edges it’s way to an end, I listen to the sound of the kids playing outside with their friends. Unfiltered, unedited laughter is bouncing through the air and I can’t help but think how long it’s taken for us to get to this place. If I’m being completely honest, I wondered if we ever would. A lot has happened in 2019 for our family (although nothing could be as bad as 2018 was. 2018 showed me how strong I really was.)
This year has taught me how strong our family unit can be when we need to be. The beginning of the year was exciting and unbelievably stressful all at the same time. Our wedding was in March, and as happy as I was with that day, I would have been completely fine with our original intimate ceremony. But as those with blended families know, when small children are involved, that isn’t normally an option. In our case, our kids needed to actually see the wedding take place in order to fully grasp the concept of blending our families together. To be clear, I have no biological children of my own. I am not blessed enough to be able to carry children of my own. However, that makes me no less a parent or a mother, but that’s a conversation for another day. With the wedding out of the way, we had no idea exactly what was about to be handed to us.
Having a troubled child is one of the most difficult situations to deal with. Having a troubled child that is part of a set is an entirely different ballgame all together. There is no way to prepare yourself for some of the things that we found ourselves in the middle of. One of our triplets was REALLY struggling. Now they’re 10, which is a tough age to begin with now that hormones are starting to come into play. But the issues we were having went farrrrr beyond hormones. He was angry all the time. Violently angry. He was getting in trouble at home, getting in trouble at school, stealing, lying, violent and angry outbursts at literally the drop of a hat. And as bad as it was here, it was 10 times worse when he was at his moms. We have shared custody with a 7 and 7 schedule. When I tell you that it was bad, that word is an absolute understatement. And as any parent knows, that kind of situation is hard. When you are a step parent it’s even harder because you will in some way or another always be considered an “outsider”.
We tried everything. Literally EVERYTHING. Grounding, spanking, positive re enforcement, doctors, therapists, psychiatrists, medications, a couple of in patient facilities, family therapy. You name it and we tried it. The situation got so bad that his psychiatrist decided that our best bet was to put him in a behavioral center for boys in order to get him some extensive help, therapy, and coping skills to deal with his anger problems because we were at the point of being afraid that he would hurt himself, one of his siblings, or us. So 6 months in a treatment facility about 3 hours away. I can not express to you how hard that was. Not only on him and us, but also on his siblings. Being part of a trio for literally your entire life, and then one of those being gone was an adjustment for all of them. Once he was there for about 3 months, he was able to earn day passes which evolved to night passes and then eventually weekend passes where he was able to come home for the entire weekend. In November he was released for good and if I’m being completely candid, I didn’t think he was ready. It seemed to me like he said and did what he needed to say and do in order to come home but didn’t really take anything away from the experience. But how do you have that conversation with your spouse without looking like you just don’t want the child to come home? It’s near impossible.
The first few weeks were rough, but once we settled into a routine things slowly started to get better. The rules in our household had not changed and neither had the consequences or the rewards. I think that the consistency has worked wonders for him, and I couldn’t be more thankful for that. Things are still a little tense at his mom’s but they are also working through it.
2019 was challenging to say the least and I’m not sorry to see it go. I’m hoping that 2020 brings our family peace, and love, and happiness. Most of all I hope that my little one knows and understands that we will do whatever it takes to make sure that he evolves into a functioning, respectful, contributing member of society and that we will never give up on him.