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Peace in the process & joy in the journey

It’s a new year, which means it’s time to make some changes. For some people, it’s to lose 10 pounds. For others, it’s to get a great job. I’m no mind reader, but I’m guessing that for many of you it’s to “Stop those Tics!”

I wish there was some magic elixir out there I could recommend, but in my six years at this, there simply isn’t. Everyone’s child is different with a unique personality and temperament.  As parents, we must be our child’s best advocate.

While I will absolutely spend time in January discussing vitamins and techniques that have worked for Stink, what I feel compelled to remind you today is that Tourette is not a sprint. It is a marathon. This means that, like with any physical sport, you need to stretch and prepare. Here are some things to help you with that:

  • Get comfortable. Read up on Tourette! It’s more common than you think! Latitudes and The New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome are awesome. Even better is a personal support group. Don’t have one? Start one. Comment here and meet people. Get connected!
  • Find a coach. No shame in getting help from a therapist or pastor or good friend! I am shameless and do all 3.
  • Get a good workout plan. Do you want to pursue medicine? Alternative therapy like acupuncture or nutrition? Cognitive behavior therapy? Stink is on some focus meds, after years of going without, and vitamins. Pretty simple. I’ll share more later.
  • Find some cheerleaders. Tourette is a perfect invitation to rid yourself of toxic people. Replace them with others that make you laugh and cheer you on! I have one friend I speak to every day. Topanga T is the Gail to my Oprah. In ten minutes we can cover religion, vintage sette sofas, Pinterest popcorn recipes, cancer, thrift stores, fire insurance, cock roaches and hair dye. We never get off the phone without saying, “I love you.” Best part of my day.
  • Enjoy yourself.

“What was that?” you might say? “My kid is rolling his eyes more than Kim Kardashian in a Walmart Maternity section!”

“Yes,” I will tell you. “Enjoy yourself. And more important, enjoy your child. Because they are not their tics. They are their soul.”

There have been times when Stink has cleared his throat so many times in a row I had to put in ear plugs and walk out.

I have farmed him out to friends overnight so I wouldn’t have to watch an incessant head bob.

I have sat locked in car rides up mountains counting how many times he has clicked his tongue and been so insane with frustration I’d make my husband pull over to the side of the road so I could step away. “What are you doing (chirp chirp) Mama!” Stink would yell from the car. “Loving this beautiful view, baby!” I’d call back.

I had some rough times — still do.

But I’ve also come to realize, over the years, that tics come and go. It’s annoying that they always come back, but it’s beautiful that there is a break. And, like with any rest, clarity comes.

For me, clarity started in small whispers. “Your son has some eye rolls, but he’s a hysterical joke teller.”

It then got a bit louder. “Stink occasionally warbles or squeaks, but he carries pink umbrellas to school and is writing an adventure novel. He’s pretty darn creative, and, well, let’s face it. He’s weird! Hooray for oddness!”

These days, clarity is screaming, “Stink sometimes squeaks in between his sentences, but he gives talks about TS in class!

He is going to three birthday parties this month because he’s more social than Twitter!

He has a little Tourette and whole lot of confidence! HE IS NOT MY SON WITH TOURETTE that is also really amazing. HE IS AMAZING and, oh yeah, he has Tourette.

Parents, if you’re new to this, I promise you. We can’t always cure our kids bodies, but we can always always always support their souls.

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