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April 28, 2009

Yesterday Jon-David went for his first counseling appointment.  Hugh and I thought he would be nervous to meet Patsy.  Instead, he excitedly asked us questions about his appointment:

“Can I talk to her about Grandpa?”

“What kinds of toys does she have in her office?”

“Did you tell her sometimes I get nervous about stuff at school?”

I was slightly confused.  Why was my eight-year-old looking forward to counseling?  Didn’t he understand how upsetting this was for his parents?

Out of all three children, Jon-David seems to be the most deeply affected by losing his grandfather.  Prone to anxiety before David’s death, my son’s confidence now wavers in and out during the school day and in other situations.

After much emotional hemming and hawing (read: Terrible mother.  Awful parent.  Working mother guilt.), I finally made the initial appointments with Patsy.

Hugh and I went first, carefully discussing our son and listening as she described some common childhood anxieties related to the death of a loved one.

Yesterday my son went boldly into her office for his first session.  He marched over to her large white board, drew for a while, then talked about David and about the boys at school he doesn’t get along with.

“How was your time with Patsy?” I asked him last night.

“She is very nice…and she wants to see my drawings next time. Oh, and I told her about Bryan and how he is a bully.  And she has this Buzz Lightyear toy with a lazer arm that goes ‘whoooosh’.  It’s cool.”

I shook my head, surprised.  Maybe, I thought, it was nice for him to have someone listen to him for an hour – completely focusing on his words, ideas, and fears.

I’m glad – I suppose – that this is not upsetting for him.  But it is still hard for me to accept that fact that I have not been able to help him enough.  I haven’t given my son all the tools he needs to fight anxiety and grief.


Maybe I am teaching him something by embarking on this  journey.  When you are in a hard place in life, get some help.  It’s okay.  Go and talk to Patsy.  Draw pictures.  Listen to advice.

It’s okay to need help.  The important thing is to step forward.

I think Jon-David, in his grinning excitement, is already starting to understand.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Becky permalink
    April 28, 2009 8:25 pm

    Jess, I am always amazed by your strength and courage! You and Hugh are such great parents…evident again here as you show Jon-David the importance of being known by those who can love and care for you even when it is hard! Love and miss you!

  2. Cheri Armstrong permalink
    April 29, 2009 12:04 am

    Your site is always an encouragement to me. Today, I am blown away by your freedom (whether you see it or not) to allow your son the privilege of counseling.

  3. April 29, 2009 1:10 am

    What Becky said! I think you are totally doing the right thing but you don’t need MY opinion.. I think it says wonderful things that Jon-David is comfortable with it.. and i”m sorry it’s hard for you.. I, however, would count all of it as success!!

  4. April 29, 2009 9:18 am

    ditto the above three comments. you’re doing a great job as a mom.

  5. April 29, 2009 11:17 am

    I’m with the other ladies. Your love for your family is always so obvious. And this mom thing…it can be pretty dawg-gone hard. I think you are doing great. Keep clinging to the Lord and seeking His face.

    You are a blessing!

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