Carter got his yellow belt today. I posted a picture on social media. If I’m being honest I did it because I needed something to celebrate with him. These small moments are the things that keep me going.

This weekend was really rough. He is a teenager with the emotional level of 10 years of age and the wants of a teenager. It is a battle for him everyday. He struggles and he takes it out on me. While that might not be fair and it isn’t right that’s just how it is.

This Saturday Carter was super angry. I caught him watching something inappropriate, and I confronted him. I was not happy, and either was he. Carter claimed that he didn’t know he couldn’t watch the tv show. He knew and he eventually admitted that later but in the moment he wasn’t going to own that. It’s hard for him to do that.

Things snowballed from there and they got hard. I’ll spare you the details but I was in tears and so upset and honestly so was he. The next day he is wanted everything to just go back to normal. The problem is that he crossed some lines he can’t uncross. I forgive him and I’m sad and hurt. I also have my own stuff going on. He was having a hard time because I wasn’t all bounced back is the best way to put it. So come Sunday afternoon he started to say he was sick. I asked him what was wrong and he said his chest hurt. He also said his eyes were a little blurry at times. I was pretty sure it was anxiety, and I still think so. I gave him some tums and some Benadryl thinking it might be allergies too.

Things eventually got worse, he kept complaining and I told him to go lay in his bed and try and sleep. I wanted him to feel better and sleep was in my mind the best idea. This became in his mind that I didn’t want to spend time with him. I told him several times I did, and I also wanted him to rest so he could feel better. He ended up yelling and again we had a rough and late night.

This morning I woke him up and he said he couldn’t get out of bed. I told him if he wanted Tv later today he’d get up. He got up and got dressed. I praised him and tried really hard to be extra patient and positive. To be honest he wasn’t the only one who didn’t want to get up this morning. When we got to work, we were early. So he stayed in my classroom and ended up laying on my he carpet in my room. When it was time for him to go and work I told him so. He said he couldn’t get up from the floor because he was too depressed. He said he wanted to die but wouldn’t kill himself. He was serious and I believe he is depressed to be honest. I mean who wouldn’t? The kid just found out his mom doesn’t want to see him, he is grieving that loss. I had been talking to his therapist all weekend long. I was running low on patience and I said sternly that he needed to get up and do his work that it would help him feel better. He then said where is the lovey-dovey mom who was here before, you aren’t being very nice to me. I felt manipulated and very frustrated.

I walked out of the room and went to the bathroom. I called his therapist and my good friend. With their blessing and support (to me verbally on the phone) I went back into my classroom. He was still laying on the floor. I looked at him and said very calmly and directly you have a choice. You can get up and go to work or you can give into your depression and not move. However, if you choose to not move I will call crisis, because if you can’t do life then you need immediate help. I told him he had 5 minutes to make a choice. Three minutes later he went to work. Once he was moving and seeing people he was smiling and I could see his spirits were lifted. He came back to my classroom for lunch and we talked. He asked me if I still loved him. I reassure him of this often. I looked at him and said listen we had a rough weekend. You made some bad choices and didn’t control your anger. You apologized for it and I forgave you. I am not mad at you I’m just sad. I will get over it and it will be okay. I will ALWAYS love you no matter what. There is nothing you can do to stop me from loving you or leaving you.

He cried. He got up and came and sat on my lap and I held this teenage boy who just so wants to know he is loved, he is enough, he is worth it, and that he won’t be abandoned. We finished work and I had to then tutor. After I took him straight to karate. He had testing today. So when he came out with that smile on his face and his yellow belt I snapped a picture and posted it. I was so happy to have something good to celebrate with him, something that I could tell he was proud of himself for.

Then we celebrated. I had a gift card to Starbucks so we went through the drive through. Even our dog got a pupachino. We laughed and we had a treat.

Pictures of Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat. They are just snap shots. If you hadn’t seen me this weekend you would have thought that everything was great in our world. You might even be jealous of our celebration.

The truth is so much more simple. It’s just the one thing I could celebrate with my son today, after a long hard weekend. A chance for me to show him I was proud of him for something. A reminder that even in the midst of all the chaos there is some normalcy.

Carter is a great kid, and I said that often this weekend. As much for myself as the person I was talking too. Carter has experienced trauma, and he has learned unhealthy coping skills. We are trying to work through those and help him make changes. It is hard, it is a daily thing, and it is the hardest job I’ve ever had. I also wouldn’t change it for the world. I love Carter, and I will do everything I can do help him, always.

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