This morning while I write this, I think about the many times that I have felt like I needed to be Super Woman to combat all the things that are thrown at me as a parent of a child with autism. I need to defend him to those who do not believe he is capable of more. I need to explain things that he does that are not quite “normal.” I need to justify the extreme measures that I go to just to teach a new concept or to keep peace in our home. But even then, sometimes, I feel that there is “more” I could be doing. I could change his diet, research all the foods that could improve attention. Detoxify our air. Clean every crevice in the house to make sure his environment is the cleanest ever. Take him to every social outing I can and expose him to other children to play with. Take him shopping and teach him how to navigate through stores and properly pay for his items (Actually, I have done this – but I digress). Find the best violin teacher to help cultivate his gift. Figure out how he knows how to code on the computer (with no training from anyone) and expose him to the right person to understand and cultivate this gift. Pull him out of his world more and get him talking to me and others in our home. Allow him to be more independent with daily dressing and hygiene. Teach, teach, and teach him more! The list can go on and on into infinity.
I hear myself saying those things, and I feel the urgency, as if I am running out of air and it is my last day on earth. Of course, I worry about my child’s future just like any other parent. The only difference is, I worry that he will not be able to completely take care of himself on his own. That is a truly debilitating feeling. I can’t even fathom what his “adult” life will look like. I’m thankful that he has an older sister who I know will care for him and his brother should something happen to me or his dad. Still, I wish…I wish… I wish…
So, in this moment of wishing anxiety, I must stop myself and truly look at him and his environment. When I do that, I see so much of what he has than what he does not. He has a loving family that will do anything for him. We keep him happy and provide things in his environment that enrich his curiosity and satisfy his wants (and needs). He has fun every day! That is truly a gift. To see him smile and laugh and know that he feels love, that is a true blessing. I watch his push for independence in his morning routine. I see that he makes choices in what he wants to do and he communicates those choices to us. That is a blessing, because there was a time that he did not do this. I see that even though I don’t understand what and how he does what he does on the computer, he is happy being immersed in his code and making characters for online games. I am happy that he will try new foods even though he has clear favorites. I am thankful that he continues to like playing violin, even though we need a new and more experienced teacher. I have faith that we will be guided to the right person who can truly help develop this gift. And the teaching… Because he is being homeschooled, I have complete control over his learning. I can see where he has difficulties and where he shines. I know his learning style and how to reach him with new concepts. This is a gift that I am truly thankful for.
For those Moms (or Dads) out there who are feeling that you can do more. Stop and think about what you are currently doing. Look at the impact you have on your child and know that what you are doing is making a difference. The fact that you care enough to question whether you are doing enough says that you are doing as much as you can. Be gentle and compassionate with yourself. Know that you are doing your very best and your child knows that your efforts are done out of love. Take solace in knowing that you are enough and you do not need anything else nor anyone else to validate the love that you give to your child on a daily basis. You do what you do the best way that you know how. That is all that you could ever do. Be happy and at peace with that.
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