My parents sent me to 9-years of ballet lessons because they said to each other often in front of me, “She is c-l-u-m-s-y.” YOU already know I fall a lot. Yesterday, I broke my toe by misjudging a step outside my kitchen, and this morning I nearly broke my face misjudging the same darned step.
I come from difficult beginnings of maltreatment and insecure attachment, and the scourge of c-l-u-m-s-y has been with me all my life. I also have to cut every tag out of my collars and buy shoes a half-size bigger than necessary (which might explain the tripping problem on a different level–ha) because tight shoes significantly lower my IQ.
While I embark on the task of launching my son into adulthood, I am pointedly reminded of the long-term damage from difficult beginnings. I lose sight of the effects on me because, after all, clumsy and itchy are all I have ever known. On my sweet boy, the damage is what it is–long-term and pervasive.
Sunday, I started on the process of chaperoning my son on weekly grocery shopping trips for himself. He was like a deer in headlights, and the truck hit him. The cortisol flooded him so completely that he couldn’t remember what he ate last week. Beyond what I cook, he eats the same 6 things every week of his life–milk, bread, chili, ravioli, fruit, cereal. He couldn’t remember even one of those things for 15 minutes.
Eventually, he recovered his memory, searched the aisles four or five times, and got it all in the cart. It took nearly an hour. When I asked him to sign his name on the electronic pad at checkout, I thought my computer geek son was going to hyperventilate. I can’t Mom. I haven’t ever done it before. I don’t know how. I can’t write that small. I can’t handwrite. I can’t. With soothing, persistence, and prompts to breathe, he did it just fine.
After putting the grocery bags into the car, I caught a glimpse of his smiling face. “That was easy,” he said proudly. That was easy just like walking and chewing gum at the same time is easy for me.
This is just a reminder about your children from difficult beginnings. They have long-term impairment that YOU and they need to understand in order to overcome with self-esteem intact.