Category Archives: behaivor issues

The unfinished quilt top: unraveling threads

Unfinished quilt tops.

Loose fabric, pieced together.  seams resewn to strengthen the final product.  adjustments, another persons eye to style and color.  A work in progress. 

I have been told, I have broad shoulders to carry the burden of David’s care. To these people I say:  I am just a dad.  A sewer, striving to finish his quilt.  That is all, nothing more.

I strive to save the lovingly hand stitched aspect of the quilt top while ensuring it won’t fall apart upon the first washing.Life lessons.  Spools of thread.

Simple things the second.  Complex thoughts on the first.

I was thinking about a sewing project I have been trying to find time to work on.  I am finishing a quilt.  I purchased an unfinished quilt top at auction and am working to finish.  Just haven’t been able to make time to sit down and tackle it.  Not to mention the stack of patching, hemming and repairs that are sitting in my sewing area.

In thinking about the similarities between the spool of thread on my sewing machines, and David’s care I am struck by one thing.  It seems like the harder I pull on that small thread, the faster things unravel.  We have built a team of professionals around his needs to allow him to receive the best care possible.  Yet.  I feel like his care is like that unfinished quilt top.

How do I move beyond where we are with his care and onto more productive, and a more supportive care plan that is wrapped around him like a quilt? That doesn’t just protect him from the cold harsh realities of life, but offers a warming protection against those same realities.  Because, truly, right now I would have to agree with a former team member and say that eventually he will just end up in prison.

Prison is not a place to go to get mental health services.

I can talk to people until I lose my voice.  But they really don’t get the struggle that is David’s life.  They don’t get that, much like the needle on my sewing machine, if it breaks, you replace the needle, you don’t throw away the whole machine and start over.  You don’t continue sewing with the same needle, hoping for positive results.

You change the needle.

If it breaks again, then you consider your thread. Or adjust thread tension.

unfinished quilt tops: unraveled threads

If you continue to do the same thing over and over again without adapting to the fabric you are working with, all that you will experience is frustration.

As we strive to move forward with David’s care, we bring together varying professionals, much like fabric scraps used to make a quilt.  Sometimes, one scrap will work better with the rest of the top than another.  Same with professionals.  If one part of the team that is David’s “quilt top” isn’t working, we need to open the seam and change that piece out.

David’s world has unraveled.  We can try to rewind the spool of thread that is his world, rebuild the quilt top with the right pieces, and wrap him with a finished quilt that can support him for a long time to come.

Barriers exist in the mental health system that bar our success in finishing the first quilt.  In a few years, he will be an adult in the eyes of the law, while remaining a preteen mentally and emotionally.  At that point, he will be needing a new quilt.

Ask any quilter or sewer.

A quilt is a work in progress.  Eventually it might be labeled as finished, but throughout it’s life, it will periodically need care.

I have been told, I have broad shoulders to carry the burden of David’s care. To these people I say:  I am just a dad.  A sewer, striving to finish his quilt.  That is all, nothing more.

A sad reality – restraint of a mentally ill child

It’s a sad reality.  Our son David is mentally ill. I know it’s been a while since I last posted.  So much has happened. On Feb 3, as I was driving into the city for a medical appointment, I received a call from the facility where David was. “If you don’t come and get him… Continue Reading

Reality Bites

Reality Bites – David is doing well.  I get that. I get that he can’t stay where he is forever.  I understand. In all likelihood, David will be home by Christmas. Experience tells us that, we we can expect 6 weeks of honeymoon before things turn negative.  That will bring us to the first of… Continue Reading

Well Meaning Social Workers and Good News

It has been a long day.  Because of a well meaning social worker who chose not to understand our situation, we had a Sheriff Deputy transport our son 100 miles to safe bed.  Safe bed is just that, a safe place for him to be, to rest, to get himself under control. There is no… Continue Reading

Escalating behaviors

Yesterday afternoon about 1:00 pm, I was at David’s school to drop off his medications for next week.  School is 60 miles from home.  While there, the assistant principal pulled me aside to talk to me about David’s escalating behaviors at school.  At the time he was serving in school suspension for behaviors relating to… Continue Reading

An attitude for breakfast?

Full on attitude from David this morning.  He sees his potential placement in a residential facility as a badge of honor. I wish that he could understand how hard he is on the rest of the family.  Especially when he talks about how much he can’t wait to go to residential because they will let… Continue Reading


Had to restrain David tonight.  He was kicking at me because I told him not to play with the cat food.  Littlest things can set him off, if I had thought about how it would end, I would have let him play with the cat food.   I ended up grabbing him by one arm and… Continue Reading

Update: Some interesting things to note

To the people he rides to and from school with every day. David is not allowed technology.  He is not allowed technology because he has threatened to kill people via said technology.  When you hand him your phone, ipod, technology, you are opening yourself up to problems with law enforcement because of the risk that… Continue Reading

visited my son tonight

I went to see my son tonight. He wants to know when he can come home from the hospital.  Nothing about the other night.  When I asked him why he wants to come home, it was all about missing the trip to Bismarck with his mentor that he does once a week. Nothing about the… Continue Reading

I’ll beat you with this shovel

Heck of a title for this post. Last evening, my son stormed out of the house in anger. I waited about 20 minutes before going after him.  I thought it would give him time to cool down. Not to be. He started throwing things out of the cars, so I worked my way through them… Continue Reading