Last night’s Special Olympics party to conclude the season has me thinking about transitions -also the tabletime topic among the parents in attendance. W (nor J) won’t have an organized team sport this spring unless I mix up their speech therapy schedule a bit, or reach beyond the local groups here – which is actually not a bad idea. There’s lots to be gained from trying something new and exercise plus sociability is always helpful for our family.
With one year and 17 days left in the public school system, not that I’m counting, our bridge to tomorrow seems so very near. The above image is the Burnside Bridge in ?Antietam MD, on a Civil War battlefield we toured back when dear daughter’s Virginia college put us hear such dappled fields. Because I like my autistic wonderboys need visuals to guide me, I’m keeping it at heart this morning. It was such a gift of a day, with J. as usual guiding W across an expanse and somehow everyone getting their needs met. I know that’s possible for adults with developmental disabilities, however fresh the stories of frustration that square pegs of these special individuals don’t fit into the round holes of adult programs for them. I also know it’s very possible for me to creatively frame a life for them – and me – that meets our needs, allows us to grow and yet places us on some undiscovered path to a future full of light and promise.
I”m also heartened that I’ve made it here, God knows how sometimes. Today is day 5 of the hubby’s seemingly endless business trip and the work demands have been ridiculous, yet somehow I’ve held it together. My own life is on its own bridge to somewhere – hopefully not a bridge to nowhere – and I feel that too. I’m ever mindful that I have options and can exercise them should I figure out what the heck ones I want, and more than anything manage my own warped self-expectations.
To the bridge! to the future! to a day with the best of all we can be.
Profound wisdom comes in the simplest packages. Like a man in a red sweater and blue tennis shoes who simply tells you “I like you just the way you are.”
What a talisman for the day. A FB friend reminded me that it’s been nearly 12 years since his passing, and reposted a great clip of his message when asked how to help kids understand the 911 events. The clip saw him relate how people would walk up to him and relate how good he made them feel – and how by carrying that same message forward to their own children, these people were working to make more neighborhoods feel safe and loved.
Self-acceptance is so freeing. I found myself adopting his “I like you just the way you are” mantra as I glanced sideway in the mirror at those ghastly 5 lbs I can’t seem to lose lumped in my midsection. I said it to both W. and J. first thing, as I caught them in the act of doing good – J. yet again independently proceeding through more of his morning routine, and W. as he made his own sandwich with that off-centered cut rather creatively into companion 1/8 and 7/8 slices.
Here on day 4 of the hubby’s business trip when lots is going wrong, so much about me, the guys and our lives are just fine. I love you just the way you are, my friends.
A faraway yoga studio that I love but can’t visit often just sent a gem of an email that stopped me in my tracks. I jumped out of a document I was writing, ignored the overdue action items and pondered a truism.
Autism has a skin, and be we parent or autistic loved one, we have to learn to live in it.
For me as a parent, that means tolerating messiness, clutter and over-commitment because I know the outcome is richness, and balance in a way that simply limiting the day’s action items wont’ allow. I thought about it this morning when I was dog tired and yet couldn’t sleep. I started the week sleep deprived because I had a weekend jam packed with good things, and so the work things had to get shoved into less space. At one point the hubby said to me that maybe I should stop overcommitting and making myself so stressed on the weekend. But thinking back to all we got done, and did – I say – nah.
For W. and J., it means learning to habilitate to your flawed sensory systems. So when Mom’s got the TV on and J. needs a break, it means J. hides in the corner, or goes into the basement sanctum of his spandex cocoon swing, and finds what he needs.
For W. it means insisting on clothing fabric and styles that make zero sense to the neurotypical, but apparently soothe and eliminate the chafing of common cotton, zippers and fitted waists.
The best part of the email was the reminder:
Be Bold – honor the season you are in, no apologies required!
It’s so true – parents of special needs kids walk on eggshells most of our lives. There’s a funny saying going around Facebook circles lately that if something is going well, don’t talk, don’t act, and don’t even breathe.
How silly, really. We’re so used to things going awry that when they actually work out, we’re stunned. – W. had a fabulous Special Olympics tournament Saturday. While he’s scored more baskets in the past, he paid attention more, zero shoe disrobes or running off the court to find Dad, and twice he even ran instead of lumbered back and forth as shots were won and the team moved from offense to defense.
W. made the shot because he practiced lots – and because we and others helped. I take heart on that greatly. Today’s Monday morning solo-parent rush out the door meant a few practice tasks got expedited by me, but I take heart that every time the boys struggle, then win, over that twist-tie on the sandwich bread for their lunch, we score another point for the team. Every time W. comes across a room to find me when he’s stuck on untying his shoes, he made the shot and so did I. Every time J. independently follows directions and gets his toothbrush when I yell it out as I’m frantically wrapping up some work before it’s morning readying time – the crowd of all special needs parents is cheering behind me in the stands.
We’re making the shot – and it shows. Yay!