It’s quite the word. I would argue we all love to win – but as we age most of us learn that finishing the race can be enough.
Managing the spectrum on a daily basis is not a 5K…it’s much more like a marathon.
Most of the times, it’s not about winning – but at times, it is.
With your child…
With people in a grocery store…
It can be exhausting. I was thinking of that this morning. I’m just tired today the race is getting to me. Today is one of those days that I wish autism wasn’t a part of my vernacular. Don’t take this as not loving my child…that’s not it at all. Today is a selfish day of just wishing we didn’t have to deal with any of it.
The again, one thing I’ve found in life is that we simply trade old problems/issues for new problems/issues. I have a handle on our current life…so I’d rather not trade it for a whole plate of something new.
Because we’ve won battles, many of them.
On a recent trip home I marveled at how my family had grown to understand Tucker. Granted, they had always loved him – but…dare I say it…there was a learning curve. I was thinking about how thankful I was that my family has learned not to say things like…
- Just tell him that’s the way it’s going to be, and that’s that!
- Just tell him the way it is.
- Ignore his tantrum, it will soon end.
My parents (bless their heart) are Boomers. They came from the parenting school of, “Because I’m the mom, that’s why.” I (usually) dutifully obliged. Parenting Tucker is much different…and sometimes I think it’s tough for grandparents to come to terms with this. I know this because of the feedback I hear from others. So many parents out there wish their own parents would support them so they don’t feel forced to say things like:
- Don’t you think I’ve already tried that?
- Trust me, I wish it was that easy, we all do.
- Yes, I wish that my child had the same ‘cognizance of what’s appropriate.’ You know what? S/he doesn’t.
- I’ll tell YOU the way it is
- I’ll tell YOU the way it’s going to be, and that’s that.
- He HAS to go to bed, yes it’s the same ritual. Yes, I get it can be annoying.
- Please don’t make him feel bad, he already recognizes how different he is.
It’s tough stuff when you need love and acceptance from your own parents and all you receive is criticism and dirty looks. I could go on and on with the stories I’ve heard from other parents. I wish I could scream (albeit respectfully) at some grandparents…here is what I would most likely say…
Not supporting your child as they try to manage what is happening in their house only causes more stress. You may not understand and that is OKAY. Be there. Don’t talk. Listen. Open up. Don’t be afraid to learn. To be in this grandchild’s life you are going to HAVE to learn a new level of acceptance.
That’s not too rude, right?
I have been blessed to have my parents. Grandparenting is fun business – or it seems to be. My dad often says, “I have no idea how my imperfect children created these perfect grandchildren.” Yes, he says it in jest…and it makes me laugh. Every. Single. Time.
They get it. They know. When this all began it wasn’t this ‘easy’ with Tucker’s primary family group. But we grew. All of us. I think that is very evident from Day #2 – Unconditional Love, Right? These were the first ‘battles’ we fought…all of us had to grow into understanding what was going on with Tucker. All of us knew that he needed all of us…
Last night I was watching a special about Tom Brokaw having cancer and he said something like this, “The most important thing is to have your family by your side – all of your family – cheering you, picking you up, and learning right along with you.” Of course, I cried – and i couldn’t help but think about how this SO much resembled what parents of children on the spectrum need.
They need to be picked up.
They need you to learn.
They need you to cheer…cheer them on through every battle that comes their way.
Tomorrow? Winning battles in the primary years at school….