I am waving the white flag. I surrender. I give up!
I have four degrees. I’ve worked with kids who have special needs my entire adult life. My daughter, however, has worn me down.
Over the past few months, I have found three different instances that Sophie has been playing with fire. FIRE. The first instance was last summer when I woke up in the night smelling smoke. Sophie was lighting candles on the CURVED arm of my sofa. Later that summer I found a pile of ashes on a table in my garage. After questioning, she told me that she burned a kleenex box. It just happened to be next to my lawn mower which was full of gas. We had a come to Jesus conversation and I thought the parameters I gave her were sufficient. I told her she could burn things in our fire pit when I was with her. Recently, I found another pile of ashes on my basement floor.
The final straw came a few days ago. Sophie rides to school with my neighbor. She walks to her house in the morning and waits there until school starts. On Monday, Sophie decided that she wanted to ride the bus. She was very tired and, honestly, I think she did not want to go to school. After a 30-minute argument, she finally walked to my neighbor’s house. As I backed out of my driveway, I saw Sophie walking back. I stopped and she hopped in the backseat. She was crying. She stated that she would go to school but only on the bus. I told her that I could not wait for the bus to come, as I had a meeting at work. My frustration was growing and any time Sophie feels my frustration increasing, she digs in her heels even harder. I finally told her that she could wait in our house and I would have our neighbor get her when it was time to go.
I was nearly to work when I received a call from my neighbor that she and her son were knocking on the door, but Sophie was not responding. I asked them to go inside and guided them where to look. I was told that Sophie was nowhere to be found. I told her to go ahead and go to school so her son would not be late and I called Sophie’s dad to look for her.
I turned my car around and was furiously driving back to my house. I called Sophie’s dad and told him all of the typical places Sophie hides. He told me he would call me back when he found her. At this point, I was crying; thinking the worst. Did someone go in the house and take Sophie? Did she decide to run away from home and someone picked her up? When do I call 911? What was she wearing? What were my last words to her? I was attempting not to hyperventilate while driving when Mark called and said she was not in the house.
It then hit me that, perhaps, she rode the bus to school. I called and found out that she was sitting in class. I pulled my car over and sobbed. For 20 minutes of my life I did not know if my daughter was safe or if I would ever see her again. During that 20 minutes, only the worst was going through my mind. I’m so grateful to God that she is safe.
A New Plan
We are trying new medication and will see a therapist today. In the past, I have written about teaching the pause. Sophie needs to learn how to pause before she acts. She is extremely smart. She knows the consequences of her actions. In the moment, though, she does not consider the big picture of her actions.
I share this because, behind this computer, it is easy for me to appear to have all of the answers. I am just a Mama who is terrified for the my daughter’s future. I am terrified that she’s going to hop in a car with the wrong stranger. That she is going to start a fire she cannot control. That as she gets older, she’ll try the vape and then the joint and then the beer and then the cocaine. The time is to teach the pause is NOW. The time to help her understand the enormity of her actions is NOW. The time to teach her curious spirit to explore within boundaries is NOW.