Last December, Jack picked up two large cups of hot chocolate from the cup holders in the front of the van and threw them across the car. For the past year, I’ve been cleaning hot chocolate from every surface and crevice. Even when I’ve been over an area multiple times, it seems that new bits are coated in dried cocoa all the time.
I’ve thought several times that there has to be a metaphor in this—the cocoa that won’t go away. No matter my efforts, it subtly reappears. Or rather, it never really goes away.
This week I figured it out. Some things happened:
1. Jack became extraordinarily hyper. He literally runs around the house all the time. When he isn’t running, he is eating. He seems to be on speed.
2. Jack attacked me while I was driving, with Charlie and Truman in the car. It’s a horrific story, which withers my soul a little, every time I think about it. It involved Charlie screaming that we should call the police, which I totally would have if I hadn’t been shielding myself and my two littlest boys from the biting, clawing, and kicking. At one point, I thought if I could only free my left hand for a minute or two, I could open my door and shout for help. But there were about ten minutes of nothing but trying to survive. I realized that though he is just ten, I can barely subdue Jack physically.
The other low point came in the midst of the busiest intersection in our area, when Jack kicked the gearshift into reverse. I hit the brakes and imagined a car slamming into us from any direction. It was the first time as Jack’s mom that I have feared for my life.
3. Two days and an altered dose of meds later, Jack attacked his respite sitter as she drove him home from an outing. He grabbed at the steering wheel, jerking the car to the right where it slammed up and over a curb, puncturing the tire.
The car following her pulled off at the same time and some perfectly altruistic man got out and changed the flat tire for her, on Christmas Eve day. Apparently, he has a special needs brother. I’m convinced that people who have lived the trauma are ultra aware of other people in difficult, disability-driven situations
Nevertheless, this is all a nightmare.
The aggressive, destructive behaviors are the hot cocoa.
They have splattered over our lives, and dripped into every facet of family interaction. No matter the effort we put into cleaning, managing, modifying—they never go away. Sometimes we think we’ve got it all, but it’s an illusion. There is always more in the cracks and the corners.
The cocoa never leaves. I cannot banish it.
This Christmas, I yearn for wisdom and more strength.
Like the cocoa, I need a renewing supply.