What Healing Really Looks Like

Originally posted on April 18, 2011

A few years back I listened/watched a Nancy Thomas audio or DVD (sorry, I can’t be more specific!). In that, somewhere, she was talking about kids as they are healing. She made the comment that some kids have one last big “hurrah” … almost as one final test to make sure this whole love and trust thing is for real.

That stuck with me.

It stuck with me like the time a lady looked at me and said, “Your baby can sleep through the night in eight weeks.”

You don’t say those things to desperate mothers. You just don’t. You don’t even hint at it, a little bit. We will hear it how we choose to hear it and engrave it in the stubborn stone of our minds and swear by it. We will lose all logical thinking. We will then grieve and mourn when our lives and/or actual remnants of logical thinking step in and force us to look at the big picture.

A last “hurrah”??

Yeah, we’ve had that. We’ve had it 1,026 times, minimum.

That is not what healing looks like in our home.

However, a year ago I saw a wonderful little graph created by the Porter’s. It is the most beautifully non-scientific graph in the history of graphs. I made one of my own to give you an idea:

Online Graphing

To look at that graph, one cannot deny that healing is actually occurring. Right? Of course. We all have eyeballs and brains. Yet, living in the middle of that graph is a whole other ball of wax.

You are always moving forward, even when behaviors are regressive. However, living with regressive behaviors when you have had a taste of those high points on the graph is BEYOND DIFFICULT. That is why I made my own copy of the graph. That is why I may tattoo it to my forehead and etch it into the glass on my bathroom mirror.

This stuff is hard.

What does healing look like in my home? We can have a really good, sweet day of connecting. Yet, the next day one child is dealing with their anniversary while we are trying to get to a fun activity. I attempted to help them work through it so they could actually play upon arrival. I found myself being yelled at in the middle of a grocery store parking lot. Senior adults staring at me. Good times.

The day after a celebration (which, by the way, went off without any behavioral hitches whatsoever!), another child waited until I left for a run before picking a fight with dad. They were fulfilling a desperate internal need to punish themselves for the great day they had. Much to their dismay, Dad was rockin’ the therapeutic interventions that day, and did not engage.

That is healing in our home. My kids can have their good day now. They can let others have a good day. They can give you that celebration and enjoy it, themselves. However, one tends to act out before and another acts out after. That’s not cut-and-dry, of course. Now, wouldn’t THAT be easy?

It’s still there. The pain and hurt is still there. The trauma still exists in their core. Yet, I look at that chart and say, “Yup. Can’t deny it. The good is better than we’ve had. Absolutely – even when it is still whonky.”

The whonky is better.