Moms have this little spidey sense that goes off when something doesn’t seem right with their kids. Sometimes we can dismiss it as nothing to be worried about, but when the spidey sense keeps alerting, it’s hard to ignore.
That’s kind of how I would describe realizing that our son had OCD. The thing about this super power is that it gets stronger with use. And one year after we connected the dots on Ethan’s struggles, we’re seeing some concerning things with our daughter.
Part of me is afraid that typing out these words will make them true. If I don’t say them or type them, I can tell myself that everything is awesome. If you had asked me 5 years ago, which child of yours is most likely to be described as having Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, I would have answered, “Audrey.” No hesitation. She has the stereotypical desire for order and neatness that you see in the TV shows. But it mostly didn’t really cause a problem. In fact, we kind of liked it. What parent minds when their child gets out of bed quietly and cleans their room? Not this one.
And then our life got crazy. Nathan’s job changed in MN. We started thinking of making a change. We made a BIG one and moved to TN. So many things were happening that kept our attention. Then life settled down (a little) and Ethan started really struggling. For the last year, we’ve focused on helping him find the tools to deal with his BIG emotions and never-tiring brain.
But last week, as Nathan and I sat on the floor in Audrey’s room to help her clean her room. We just knew. This isn’t the cute needing to have her things in a neat row, sort of thing. It’s pervasive anxiety that she can’t ignore if certain things don’t happen: Her things must be clean before she goes to bed, she says the exact same thing to us every night when we tuck her in and when we aren’t there to take part in the ritual she has a very difficult time, she has lots of rituals and patterns. She doesn’t do them because she loves to do them. She does them because she feels overwhelming anxiety when she doesn’t.
I walked out of her room with big emotions of my own. It’s not a death sentence and she’s the same daughter that I adore and have loved for 8 years, but I’m not naive. Fighting this will take all hands on deck and the “hands” are low on resources.
I’m praying big prayers and trusting that God will provide.
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family[a in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”