When my wife and I started foster care for medically fragile kids, I said I could only do it if there was an understanding not to get upset with any mistakes we make, to understand we will make mistakes. We agreed to do the best we could under all circumstances, and live secure in the knowledge we mattered as best we could.
I had to remind myself of those thoughts frequently this weekend after I screwed up a medication dosage for my son. As he went wild and didn’t sleep well, I had to keep telling myself “don’t get angry at him. This is the result of my screw up, and enduring this is my part of the penance.” I hated this entire weekend, from 9am Sat. when I realized my mistake through 11pm Sunday when I had to let go of consciousness. The odd part is wondering how much of the wildness was from my mistake and how much was from his wildness of the past few weeks since school started. Never the less, I feel the responsibility and it feels terrible.
All weekend long, he acted as a kid with no sense of self awareness. His usual lack of self control looked like times of ideal restraint. Everything from writing on walls to ripping things from the walls to purposely breaking toys he enjoyed to…was happening. He has spent at least an hour the last two nights in the corner or sitting/laying facing the couch for time outs. Nothing slowed him down for long. Even my running didn’t prepare me for the mental exhaustion I’ve felt this weekend.
Funny thing about running is when I started running again I wanted to be thinner so my wife might find me more attractive. It was that thought which motivated me to keep running through falls and embarrassingly slow runs. Then I wanted to run to get back to the weight I was when we got married. Now I run because it’s a time to lose myself in the songs on the Ipod and the sensation of semi rapid controlled falling from right foot to left and back again as the yards and miles pass underfoot. I find myself running more and more as a control, a check on the stress of the outside world. Almost nowhere else in life, am I in control of how much I am willing to endure to continue. Now if only I had that control for others’ discomfort. I say this after running to the point of leg cramps after running hills at lunch. Self flagellation hasn’t really helped me much.
Here’s hoping, reading a few books with him tonight calms him enough for sleep. It’s been a few nights, so he’s due. Heck, our whole house is due.
As for whether I second guessed myself the rest of the weekend, the answer is yes. Still, I found myself remembering the quote by Elbert Hubbard, “The greatest mistake you can make in life is continually fearing you’ll make one.” So with that in mind, I will keep trying to forget the mistakes of the past and simply do what I can do now with the information I have in the situations I find myself.