The kids have been on Thanksgiving break since last Friday. I have not. This means Ben has had a few more hours to himself than I care to admit. On the way home from work tonight, I began to think through the amount of minutes I am sure he has had on screens and the panic set in. Did the written prompts help him to remember to take his meds, brush his teeth, put on deordant, eat all his faves for lunch? Could the picture schedule for each day that he relies on really be enoug...h?
All those "should haves", "could haves" and "would haves" raced through my mind. It wasn't just about the past few days but I went all the way back to the day he was diagnosed at 18 months with Autism. Why didn't I put him in more social clubs or get him to try out for the swim team? Surely, there is so much more that I could have done and should be doing.
Here's the deal: Every family has its stuff. Special needs families just have extra on top of the stuff. So when I walked through the door with the story nagging at me that I suck as a mom, my son probably hasn't eaten all day and his brilliant mind that just needs extra help navigating has lost brain cells due to Nintendo and Sponge Bob, I found the unexpected.
He was showered and dressed ( at this point, who cares about the deordant). I was met with a warm greeting and of him telling me he was at the table working on his math homework which isn't due until next week. The television wasn't on nor was his video games in sight. I asked if he was hungry but he declined, sharing that he had already eaten and told me thank you for getting his favorite foods. He added, " The kind that didn't require any cooking."
He was safe. Happy. Healthy. Cared for in the best way a person can be.
I was tearful. I was grateful. Grateful for Ward, Payton and myself. For every therapy, therapist, teacher and teacher aid, for whoever developed the picture exchange communication, every friend and family member, each fireman and policeman who we needed throughout his younger years of wandering, for every single tear and prayer, every single sacrifice,the daily hope that he would meet his very greatest potential.
It truly does take a village. How blessed am I to see the fruits of our labor of love. Near and far, new and old- Happiest of Thanksgivings to our friends and family. We're all winning. None of us suck.
Love and gratitiude,
Autism does not equal oblivious.
This morning, as I am rushing out the door from being called into work early, Ben hands me a progress report that has to be signed TODAY and TURNED IN because of a few missing assignments.
Ben, this should have been the first thing you showed me yesterday after school/work....
"But, I didn't want to ruin your baseball experience."
Me as autism mom: Well played. Neuro typical behavior. Brilliant. You're so in there. You so belong.
Piece by piece, what are you letting go this season?
"If I could let go as the trees let go. If I could move into the dark with eyes wide open. I would lose what I lose to keep what I keep."
A poem I gave to Ward... at this time last year. I did not pen this nor is it the entire writing. But we were in a season of letting go. That's what I love most about the fall. There were ideas about myself, my beliefs, my relationships, hurtful things in my marriage, parenting mistakes and a 20 year long career that needed to experience how lovely it is to let the dead things go.
In the letter that I wrote Ward with the above poem, I ended it with, " I will lose what lose to keep what I keep and I want to keep us."
A year later, we have lost much but kept the most important and have never been as sure that each present moment is the best time of our life.
What are you letting go in this season of allowing dead things to lie in order to enter rest in the Winter and renewal in the Spring?
Belonging is found through believing you are enough...just the way you are. The vulnerable way of life is risky but it's way better than fitting in and losing pieces of your bright, beautiful self! God does some of His best work in the belonging.
A Piece from Ward...#9
The process. The journey. The becoming.
A Piece from Ellen...
I value our time together.