Monday, August 26, 2013

Autism Answer: Looking backwards

The first day of school... again!

My boys and I have done this so many times. School supplies, new jeans, old friends, new loves, teachers to assess, social skills to learn, labels to avoid and discover, self-centered fears and hopes... etc. 

When my boys were tiny I could barely breath dropping them off, fearing judgment of them and judgment of my parenting. Often in those first years, I didn't drop them off! I just called them in sick. And when I would drop them off, I'd pick them up early. So often my weakness and fear was exampled for them, until I couldn't help but see it transferred down. They feared school the way I did.

And so I changed. Not in a moment, but over many moments of insisting I highlight and appreciate the value of school. First, I had to find value, which took me a bit. But once I did, it became slowly easy. And then, over much more time, my boys saw it and felt it too. 

I don't have any kids who wake up weekday mornings feeling thrilled to get to the classroom. But they do adore aspects of it, and they do get up with good attitudes and little stress. 

This morning was lovely. I woke up and made coffee. I snuggled my boys awake, and they got dressed. I made breakfast while they double checked their backpacks and poked at unwanted pimples. Teeth were brushed, music played and shoes were donned. 

There was a little nervousness on the drive into town. Shay talked about finding his classes and being in high school while Declyn down-played his terrific trumpet skills, giving himself an excuse to worry about band practice. We got to the school, they shot me the "I love you" sign, and off they went. 

I drove home remembering so many other first days of school. The crying, the begging, the tangible fear and nervous energy. I wondered how much of that my boys could have avoided if I had only been strong enough and smart enough not to teach it. 

I wondered, but without guilt. And that is new too! 

There is a gift in looking backwards. As long as you look with the intention of seeing the gift and not with a need for what was, or a habit of beating yourself up. The gift of looking backwards can truly enhance the beauty of the present.

That happened for me this morning. This first day of school, my teacher is me. And time. And my boys. And my mom, who taught me what to look for. 

My teacher is life, lived intentionally!

Hugs, smiles and love!!!

Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)