Together We Are More

I recently thought about a bedtime story called “The Bundle of Sticks” that Pa used to tell me.

As this Aesop’s Fable goes, an old man gathers his 20 dysfunctional sons as he nears his death.

He gives them each a stick and asks them to break it – and they each do so with ease.

Then he puts 20 sticks together and asks each son to take a turn at breaking the bundle – and they are unable to do so.

And so, the old man imparts an important lesson about unity.

Blogger Vickie Rubin recently wrote about the trick that keeps her marriage working – and for my family, and raising a child with FASD, it’s about making or breaking it together.

The hubby, T and I recently started a 13-week program called SNAP.

So what does SNAP stand for?

It’s not the Bend and Snap, unfortunately.

It’s not this either.

SNAP stands for Stop Now And Plan and it is “an evidence-based cognitive behavioural model that provides a framework for teaching children struggling with behaviour issues, and their parents, effective emotional regulation, self-control and problem-solving skills.”

It’s a referral-based program with a long waitlist – we waited a year – and we are so thankful for the recommendation from Surrey Place.

Taking place once a week, T is in a play and learn based group with three similarly-aged kids while the hubby and I are with three other couples.

The weekly subjects covered hit on so many skills that we want T to learn – including emotional regulation, playing in groups and even covers topics such as bullying.

Three weeks in, I’ve been enjoying the sessions; it’s so refreshing to meet other parents, in person, who just get it with zero judgment.

We get home late in the evening, so we made a few changes to our routine – we get takeout, no reading homework, no bath – so T gets to bed at the same time without meltdowns.

Yes, it is as time consuming as it sounds and I need something else on my plate like I need another gray hair – but I think it will be worth our time.

During a recent drive home from SNAP, I thought back to 2011 when the hubby and I took a multi-week course called Papas and Daddies To Be, offered by a 2SLGBTQ+ organization.

It was a journey, an investment of time, and so worth it as it helped inform our adoption journey.

I’m hopeful for a similar experience with SNAP.

It’s also nice that T’s CYW is trained in SNAP and uses it at school. We connected her and the SNAP team together for mutual goal setting.

Life with a child with FASD is filled with ups and downs – and there are days where I do feel like I will snap from how hard it is.

What keeps me together is remembering that the hubby, T and I are in this together – through thick and thin.

Individually, we’re thin and susceptible to snapping – but together, we are more; thicker and stronger.

We support each other through the lows and we celebrate together our many highs.

Recently, during bedtime, the hubby was trying to get T to finish showering, one of his favourite activities that he could spend forever doing.

Cue the screaming fit.

I reminded the hubby about SNAP. “Count to ten and take deep breaths,” I said, with perhaps a bit of playful sarcasm.

“Replace those hot thoughts with cool thoughts. He’s acting this way because he’s having fun. He’s not trying to piss you off. Stop Now and Plan.”

The hubby, already quite irritated, stared at me with quite the look and said, “Fuck off.”

Did I mention having a sense of humour also helps?

37 thoughts on “Together We Are More

  1. It’s really great that you have a program like SNAP in Canada. What a positive and helpful way to move forward as a family! That closing part really is hilarious — in the future you can always look back to moments like this with the hubby, and probably T as well, and cherish them as a part of your life journey.

    1. Thanks Bama. I agree that we’re very lucky with the services we have available. I know it’s not always the case. So as frustrating as some of the parenting moments can be, it’s good to remember the blessing that we do have along the way! 🙏

    1. Thanks Margie! It’s usually the other way around so it was nice to throw some of that calm sarcasm towards the hubby. 😆

  2. The SNAP program sounds wonderful, and the reference to Aesop’s fables is so appropriate. It’s beautiful to see you making the sacrifices of time, energy, and behavioral changes to help work with T to ensure he can do well in school, make and keep friends, and generally feel more confident out in the world. You’re doing great, and T is so lucky to have you. ❤️

    1. Thank you for the kind words. It’s been a great program and I hope we can walk away in 13 weeks with tangible tools we can use longer term. 🙏

      1. I’m not a parent myself, so it may not be my place to comment, but I see so many parents simply hand their child an electronic rather than face any parenting challenges head-on, so I find it so admirable that you’re seeking out those longer-term solutions. I think the upfront effort now will prove more than worth it. 😊

  3. I laughed so hard at the Bend and Snap reference. So good. Glad to hear that after a long wait, that you’re finally in the SNAP program. It seems like a great way to share stories and connect with other families that are going through a similar experience. You know what they say, teamwork makes the dream work! Having a sense of humour always helps too!

    1. Thanks Linda! Legally Blonde is one of those movies I can watch from time to time and never tire of. And it’s nice see Jennifer Coolidge get her due these days. They’re working on a third movie now too!

      It’s been a good program so far and my only wish is these kind of programs get more funding so waitlists could be reduced for others.

      PS. A few more days till March Break. I can barely contain my excitement. So much stuff to get done first beforehand though. 🤞🏻 Happy Monday!

      1. Oh I know! The Legally Blonde movies are such classics. I didn’t realize that they were making a third one. That’s awesome! I hear yah about how programs like this need more funding. There’s clearly a demand for them if there are waitlists. It’s hard to believe that March Break is almost here. Enjoy the week! Only four more work days to go!

  4. Love the Aesop fable- and how you and hubby stick together both in doing the work and in the humor of it all.

    That you are doing this program even when you don’t need another thing to do speaks volumes. And hopefully the payoff will come with skills learned sooner rather than later. You all are amazing and inspiring!

    1. Thanks Wynne. I didn’t realize it wasn Aesop’s Fable until I was researching the story for this post. It’s amazing how many wonderful stories and lessons came through Aesop!

      To be honest, while it’s been a good program so far, practicing it in the heat of a moment can be hard. But all we can do is take things a step and a day at a time.

      Enjoy your week ahead!

      1. Isn’t that interesting about Aesop – amazing to have one source of so much wisdom. I hear you about the heat of the moment. I think that’s why we practice things – so that it can hopefully be like muscle memory when we need it. Hope you have a great week too!

  5. This sounds like a wonderful program and I think the three of you will learn some life skills that will help both now and down the road. I especially got a kick out of your hubby’s last words there … sounds like about what I would have said! 🤣 The story at the beginning of this post — The Bundle of Sticks — is so meaningful, and I immediately connected it to our current socio/political situation in this country … “United we stand, divided we fall” … so true in so many situations, isn’t it?

    1. Thanks Jill. Yes, the story can apply to so many other context and your point around today’s politics is a good one. Many forces want us to believe we can’t be United and it’s simply not true. It will take work though – just like this parenting journey we’re on.

      And yes, I had a feeling you would’ve made the same comment as my hubby did! 😂🤣

      1. Anything worth doing is going to take work. You guys are doing a great job of parenting, and hopefully this new program can make all your lives a bit easier. You’re in it for the long haul and cannot afford to let yourselves burn out, so take time for YOU sometimes.

        Ha ha … already you know me so well!

      2. Thanks Jill. We have Spring Break next week and are counting down the days to some rest and relaxation. 🙏😊

  6. Sounds like a great program Ab, and wow- a year waitlist! You shared a perfect example of the concept of strength in numbers and unity. Remaining strong has to seem easier when you can stand together rather than alone.

    1. Thank you Deb. It’s been a great experience so far and I only wish more funding for these kind of programs are available so the waitlists can be reduced.

  7. Hi AB, this sounds like a wonderful program! Just from experience with Al-Anon, being with others who may be experiencing similar things can be helpful. Of course having a sense of humor can help, too..love hubby’s response LOL Keep us posted on your new journey with SNAP!

    1. Thank you! I’ve heard great things about Al-Anon and I agree that being in a community is so helpful when you’re all experiencing similar journeys. 🙏 And yes, the hubby’s response made me chuckle too. Too good not to share!

  8. Love this post! Love the last couple sentence lol lol. You guys are crushing it. I know it feels like life and FASD are crushing you sometimes, but you guys get right back up. Awesome job! Have a wonderful week!

    1. Thanks Rebecca. I appreciate the vote of confidence. It can be so crushing, as you said, but we do our best to get back up and do it again. 😊 Have a great week ahead too!

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