Friday, October 10, 2014

Autism Answer: The Flaws and Hopes of an (Extra)Ordinary Family!

One of my boys had a really rough few hours yesterday. Really rough. 

I waited a while (sooooooo hard for me!) before offering too much advice. But when he looked ready, and had invited me to hang out in his room, I sat down on the floor beside him, snuggled in and said offhandedly: 

"You know hun, when you're extraordinary and different, when you're the kind of person who sees things others don't and believes things with the kind of passion that you do, you just won't fit in often. The systems and charts are invented for the most common, and you won't fit. You just won't. And often it'll be hard for you, especially as a teenager but even beyond. Yet, please, always know that you are needed and appreciated. You are exactly what the world needs right now--I'm not trying to put too much pressure on you, but know that. Own that. And when it's hard or hurts to be so extraordinary, snuggle me. Even when you're forty!"

My son gave me one of his extraordinary smiles, poked my cheeks as he always does, and snuggled while we chatted.

After about an hour had passed I headed into the living room where my husband was sulking because he wants to be able to forever protect our children from hurt. He wants our words and examples to be enough. I sat with him on the couch and snuggled in. Stroking his strong, protective arms I admitted:

"Me too. I really do, babe. I guide and follow and example and insist, all because I want to give our boys everything they need to make every moment of their lives feel successful and happy. But we know better, even if we don't want to know better. Every moment of their lives is a step in the direction of success, as long as they choose to see that eventually. We can't make it never hurt, and we can't make it always easy, but we can make it our plan to always give them what we can. To always plant those seeds--so many seeds!--and bask them in rays of hope and love and support so that some of them will blossom. That's what we can do, and babe (here I looked into my husband's sad eyes) that is what we always do. No guilt, okay?"

My husband gave a sigh of understanding, though he didn't entirely allow himself to let go. That's okay. Looking for what more we can do as parents is why we're so connected to our sons and to each other. Sometimes it's why we hurt when we don't have to, and why we cloud our own judgement with a little bit of guilt or self-importance now and then, but that only serves to make us excellent human examples for our children, with flaws and a willingness to see them. So again, a bit of good parenting lives in our mistakes.

After saying lengthy goodnights to our teen sons, my hubby and I went to bed last night comfortable and confident that our lives are fantastic, and we are lucky.

Hugs, smiles, and love!!

Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)