Huggy, don’t cry.

“Dad!” Matthew yelled, “Maleigh just poured the clear glue into a bowl!” He was plopping himself into the truck as he griped.

Maleigh studies each step off of the porch as she descends while holding back tears. She’d already been scolded by big brother and little momma Tiny. She gets into the truck with a big brother (who is fuming at this point), sits down quietly in her car seat, puts her head in her hands and begins to cry in a way that isn’t her usual (she can win awards, my friend.)

“Huggy, that was his and you knew that.”

Her cry became more painful as she said, “I wanted to make him something special, Da-dee.”

Matthew and I immediately looked at each other, deflated. We felt her words in our heart. This little girl… Jesus. Our Huggy. What I saw was a little girl who fights for her place at the table and who always wants approval from Auggie and Tiny with her projects or feats. She wanted to make a “symbiote” slime (In the Spiderman universe there’s an alien that looks like black slime that gives you powers which Auggie digs it big time) and give her to her big brother.

A couple of mintues later I looked at Auggie and said, “I believe her, bubba.”

His face became soft and he said, “I do too Da-da.”

-I wanted to explain that we often jump to conclusions but I feel like it was understood in that moment.

Huggy was the baby before the baby. It’s easy for her to feel left out or looked over and probably why she loves hugs because that moment, a hug, is her’s alone.

This past year has been an amazing challenge. I’ve gotten closer to God and become a better Da-da (spoken like a drum beat), Daaaad (long form) and Da-Dee (It’s in Huggy speak and I can’t explain it but it flips my “yes, baby, I will move that mountain” switch when she says that which is typically after I err on the side of caution and she says, “it’s okay Da-dee, I can do it.” We’ve all gotten closer and I went into dark places at times but God has and is seeing me through, seeing us through. My joy is being Auggie’s, Tiny’s, Huggy’s and Bubby’s Deddy. My only drive is for them and then my family.

I try to see them everyday and it’s a blessing to me that I can. Most relationships don’t operate that way due to… whatever made them fail. We have fun on our days and I bring snacks on off days. It’s not what I envisioned but it’s my life right now. For a moment, it was Auggie that needed me most. Then Tiny. Now Huggy. I can only assume that it will change hands multiple times as life moves forward. Just yesterday, Huggy squeezed my neck with all her little might and cried to go with me. That’s a bittersweet pill to swallow. As with Auggie before, I have to explain carefully what and why. Huggy is almost six years old and she feels as if she has to work harder for attention or acknowledgement and she can NEVER be made to feel that way by her Deddy, her Da-Dee, or I am failing. I sometimes plan our next day in those moments trying to give them something to look forward too. Glow-in-the-dark slime it is!

Earlier that day, as soon as I parked the truck and turned off the engine she was opening the door with a smile that was bigger than she was.

“I cried today, Da-Dee,” she spoke through her smile.

“Aww, Huggy, don’t cry. Why’d you cry, baby?”

“I watched a sad video where her Daddy died. She went to college too. Please, please, please, watch it with me.”

Auggie was with us at this point.

“Darling, I don’t like sad videos. What if I start crying? We’d have a mess on our hands.” This got a good laugh out of both of them but I do make silly faces too. Cheap laughs. Still get laughs though.

With much coercing, we watched the video. She’d been watching it all day and even her Mamaw knew most of the words. Sure enough, it’s a popular song that has spoken word added to it. The little girl loses her Dad when she’s five and she visits his grave with every milestone she passes.

It was awful. I don’t like sad videos. She sat on my lap and the whole four minute song played through. What Huggy doesn’t know is my own past with my Mother… it hit way too close to home but it showed me something about my Huggy baby’s heart… she truly loves and she truly loves me. I knew she did, of course. She’s afraid she’s going to lose me somehow, someway, and then the guy that fights beside her would be gone. I tried explaining a few things about our situation and about life in general. She knows, they all know, that even when I’m gone, I won’t truly be gone. That was the last lesson my mother taught me.

It’s a fortunate thing that I have Facebook and WordPress to leave with them because it’s a no-brainer that anyone would want a loved ones words to return too.

“Don’t cry, Huggy.”

*I actually encourage crying in different situations in the case that it seems I’m against crying. That would be akin to being against sneezing. Sometimes, you just need sneeze, err… cry.

I’m rusty in the actual writing department so please forgive my first attempt back. As I wrote… Jesus… it’s been a year long year. Yep. You read that right. Hoping to get back to one a week on the rigors and joy of being the Deddy to my children. It’s truly the best part of my life and I praise God for it. Let’s rock.

OCD is a beach

Auggie will Auggie

A day off from work you say? Let’s see the end of the world then! This will be fun and not at all frustrating. Let’s rock!

Nearly every rule I put in place for our trip (all four children) was broken by Auggie and Huggy (Huggy is my youngest daughter.) However, the trip went as well as I’d hoped. I consider myself to be a positive person and find that life feels better with some hope sprinkled in. The first issue was Auggie leaving the surrounding area while I was getting the stroller out and diaper bag ready. He decided then that Huggy should be arm in arm with him. Tiny was my point person staying nearly center to both them and myself and baby. That action caused me to take way more time getting things out because of the whiplash action of constantly looking towards the rascals that were not in the group and back at what I’m doing. After corralling everyone up we made our way towards the pier. The look in Auggie’s eyes was nearly wild. The water, the beach and the people were causing some overload for Auggie. He wanted… no… he NEEDED to touch everything, talk to everyone and hang over the pier every chance there was.

The second major rule was grabbing fishing poles at the end of the pier. This rule came to be the moment I noticed fishing poles. I know Auggie and now, his eyes were wild and he had given all self control over to his obsessive thoughts. So he grabbed a fishing pole. Thankfully, no one seemed bothered. Then, after being told to stop (and stopping) he rushed to the other side and grabbed a net. A woman (who owned the net) told him he could hold it but that it wouldn’t reach the water. He decided to test that theory and nearly did before I was there—

*I need to go ahead and let everyone know that’s reading this that pushing a large stroller after an eleven year old super human through a crowd on a pier that’s less than ten feet wide is an adventure in itself and not one I suggest if you’re the only shepherd.

— Once I gathered all the babies into a seating area, we had another conversation which detailed again the dangers of separation and falling into the water. Auggie was immediately tortured by not being able to fish because, according to him, I said we’d go fishing as soon as spring came. His mind was in full obsession mode at this point.

Pinched

A person with OCD has, at times, a moment by moment struggle. That which NEEDS to happen MUST happen OR… The emotions range from anger, frustration and even extreme sadness. In their mind, for the world to continue, this obsession must be fed and not feeding it becomes a form of torture. Auggie, when he’s made to stop an action, will wince in real pain as if he’s being pinched. You could say, “that’s not normal,” and you’d be correct. That’s why it’s labeled as a disorder. When he’s locked into something as simple as finding a matching sock it can make him physically sick if he doesn’t find it. The longer the search the more intense the need to find it—

*This is why I get frustrated when people confuse quirks for an OCD. I won’t go down that path today. Just know, it bothers me.

— On the other hand, if Auggie is made to stop then there is an intense struggle to change course. I will (I’m not sure any way is right but this is what I do) hold him close and tell him he’s obsessing. Then, I will bring new thoughts in. Drawing, writing, school, friends etc. There’s no perfect solution but this technique has had success before. Sometimes… the urge is just too strong though.

Auggie and Huggy

We all went down to the water before leaving. I was carrying Grey at this point so he could see the water too. Auggie, Huggy and Tiny beat us there by a mile. The one rule? Do not get into the water. Why? They were all coughing. I’m not a scientist or a medical professional. Can that make them sick or sicker? I don’t know that but I do know it can’t hurt. What did I find when I got to them? Yep. All three had there shoes off. Tiny (the defacto leader) was only there to make sure they were safe and not going any further according to her. Smart little lady (this future lawyer always has a logical explanation. Scares me at times.) Auggie took the blame for coercing Huggy and at that point it was time to leave. Auggie believed it was because he broke the rules and in part it was but that was the smallest part. The main reasons were this…

I was alone and didn’t think far enough ahead as to how difficult it would be to keep eyes on all of them in such a vast space.

It’s a two hour drive.

I was by myself.

Should be smarter

Did I mention that I was the only adult? I know, cheap laughs are just that. I’m not saying that I went as the only adult for any recognition. I genuinely fell in over my head with each new danger. I do not suggest doing that without help BUT… man… I want them to see the world. I pray a lot. I pray for their protection and peace. I’m thankful they had a great time and I’ll do it again. Now I know exactly what to expect from them. They all enjoyed themselves though so it was a success.

“They had a great time? Enjoyed themselves? But you said Auggie thought ya’ll were leaving because of him.”

Okay, so… another aspect of OCD that you must know and this will help you tremendously is if Auggie is told to stop doing something that is triggered by his OCD and is punished for continuing that’s not super bothersome for him as long as he completed what he needed/wanted to. In other words, discipline hurts less than not fulfilling his obsession. My brother was the same way. My dad was the same way. My mother was that way as well. I didn’t allow him to believe he was the reason either. I am not a monster! Maybe a little. Auggie has the tendency to be negative so he’ll blame himself quickly (Maybe that’s another aspect of acronyms but I’m not medical person.) Huggy blamed him too I suppose. That sweet little five year old lady said, “this was supposed to be the most beautiful day!” She’s a character. That really brought laughs around as we were leaving.

So, I should be smarter. I need to plan better. Either way, they get only one childhood and going on adventures is a must. When my body gives out… hopefully Auggie will be old enough to drive and he can continue the tradition of poorly planning and not being completely prepared. Oh, the memories.

Thank you for reading and if you’re rearing children with acronyms (and no prior family experience) then I hope this finds you and helps you.

God bless and I hope you have enough.

Just Jared

*The picture posted isn’t a sad Auggie. He wanted to know how far down the water was. I wonder why? I don’t. I know why. Thank you again!