after i published my post about our day at STAR yesterday i texted rach to let her know i'd written out all the details. i knew she'd want to read about it. after a few messages back and forth i had an oprah winfrey aha moment. i realized there was another major thing that was incredibly stressful for me during the evaluation...
i was not allowed to answer the questions for harrison.
i was not allowed to prompt his response.
i was not allowed to give him choices from which to answer.
i was not allowed to repeat the question in a way he would better understand.
i was not allowed to speak for him.
i had to sit quietly and wait. wait and wait and wait. until he could finally answer for himself. and for question after question, during those silent seconds, i was mentally pulling the answers out of him, willing them to come. helping harrison find his words - providing the words for him - is so deeply ingrained in me.
it was stressful staying silent.
a long time ago, in this post, i mentioned that i would share the things rach revealed to us about our son. i still haven't been able to write it. mostly because it's...i don't know...some things are just easier to write about than others. but one of the things that touched my heart the most was this: rach told me i do a great job of supporting harrison. i asked her "does supporting mean enabling? am i enabling him?" i will never forget her response. she told me that without the support he's received harrison would probably be a very angry, very frustrated little boy.
because not being able to speak is hard. it's angering and frustrating and tiring and stressful.
and, boy, did i learn that first hand.
so this really is a journey we are on together. it's an adventure where harrison will, hopefully, be able to discover his own voice, find his own words, express his own feelings. but in order for that to happen i'm going to have to quiet my voice, get more comfortable with the silence, more willing to wait out the long pauses, learn to support him in different ways.
it's a very thin line we are walking. providing enough support versus providing too much. most days i don't even notice the narrowness of the path. we tread heel to toe and balance everything pretty well. but days like yesterday, and back when rach was visiting, days when i really see the depth of the situation, make me feel like i've fallen off the tightrope and am hanging on by only my fingernails.
it's clear that therapy will not just be for harrison. this will be a learning process for me, too. for all of us.
this truly is an incredible journey. i'm hoping, as we press on, the path will grow a bit wider. just wide enough for us to walk hand in hand together. just wide enough that we can allow our boys to run on up ahead without worry. just wide enough that we're not afraid to fall.
just wide enough that we can look up and enjoy the view instead of having to concentrate so hard on where we place our feet.