Thursday, December 22, 2005

How Would Grandma Have Accepted my Complex Son

I always miss my maternal grandmother when I am preparing things she taught me to make or enjoying being a step-grandma to my husband’s grandchildren.  It is intensified today because in addition to having just made the yeast rolls she taught me to make when I was so small she had to have Grandpa find me just the right stool to stand on, I have been writing about her in the past few days.  In writing about Grandma the question runs through my head how would Grandma react to Billy Ray?

Grandma was in a nursing home in her small Idaho town at the time we adopted Billy Ray.  He was about two when we were able to take him to visit her.  He danced to music playing in the gathering room of the nursing home.  The residents including my grandmother thoroughly enjoyed that.  Grandma commented that he was full of life.  That was the only time she saw him.

At 23 years old he is still full of life but in a different way.  Now that might mean hyperactivity, throwing himself on the floor in confusion or anger, punching his Mom or support staff and even knocking over furniture.  Would Grandma accept the Billy Ray he is today, I wondered.

The answer came in a strange way on Billy Ray’s birthday.  We had invited the niece of our support staff to join us for his birthday lunch.  Ron was sitting between Billy Ray and his niece.  Quietly observing the higher degree of patience he exhibited with my complex son than with clearly bright niece, I saw myself in his responses.

Comments from people about what a saint or how patient I must be to take care of Billy Ray used to make me angry.  Now I have come to see that my tolerance for Billy Ray’s problems is far greater than it is with “normal” kids.   Acceptance of what would be misbehavior on the part of a normal child comes easier when it is Billy Ray.  Sometimes I shock folks who are trying to compliment my patience with my son by telling them I am no more patient than they are just different.  I would not have the same patience with their children that I do with my son.  Some people could handle teenage rebellion better and some could handle special needs children best.

So back to Grandma.  I wrote the other night that Grandma and I were a lot more alike than my mom and I.  Grandma had 13 kids and lots of grandchildren.  I remember her yelling at some of the kids.  I can’t ever remember Grandma yelling at me.  As a child I had some emotional issues of my own and was very needy.  Grandma understood me and loved me unconditionally more than any person in my entire life.

She would have accepted Billy Ray as he is.  Why did I even ponder that for a moment?

Until tomorrow,
Peggy Lou Morgan


KCsMom said...

My name is Tina and I just found your site while browsing blogs. I am so glad to have found your blog and I do feel we have alot in common in regards to our sons. My son is 4 1/2 years old and severely Autistic. I am Bipolar but doing (feeling) well at the moment. My little guy is non-verbal and does much of his communicating by grabbing my hand and placing it on an object. (God forbid the object be out of reach) this could cause some serious tantrumming and serious detective work.
Your son sounds amazing and you sound like a super mom. There is so much great information on your blog I will be stopping everyday to hear about your days.
Nice to meet you,
I would like to add you to my blogroll:)
Tina and K.C.

Peggy Lou Morgan said...


I am glad you found us. We learn so much from "serious detective work" as you say.

I am not supermom but my son is great professional. I have learned how to study him.

Please feel free to blogroll this blog. I am trying to learn how to do that. Parenting a complex child is easier than all this technical internet stuff (smile).