This post deals with family abuse, and might be triggering for some readers.
My son tells me he loves me all the time.
He tells me when he is happy and dancing around the room listening to music through his headphones, his body twitching and jerking to show off his unique dance moves.
I can hear Justin Bieber, or Justin Timberlake singing back at me because the music is just that loud. In these moments he gives me the thumbs-up sign and dips low like Ludicrous in Bieber’s ‘Baby’ video. Our bond is firmly secure.
He also tells me he loves me while he is hitting me. His face blotchy and tear-filled with rage, as I try to hug him tight.
He kisses me and tells me he loves me as he is punching me with one hand and trying to pull my hair with the other. If he gets in a kick to my gut he will say sorry before I even feel it.
As I put on his headphones and find the Beatles song ‘Let it be’ on his Spotify he starts to calm down, turning and kissing me with his snot-filled mouth and nose.
“I love you, mummy.”
I know he means it. In these moments he is begging for me to help him navigate his intense emotions.
I am asked by the situation to remain calm, and to be his guide through jealousy, disappointment, and helplessness, and to put aside my own feelings of helplessness.
My sweet and stubborn 13-year-old son, Dominic. Dom was born missing part of his 15th chromosome in two places.