I have often said, when speaking of my oldest sons moods that "you just never know which way the wind is blowing" or "depending on whether or not the moon and stars are aligned in his little mind" is how the day might go. Since it is difficult to understand how he processes things it is hard to predict how he might react to things or how a day might go. In short, every day is a crap shoot.
But not lately. I am not sure what the cause is or why there is a change, but I looked at my husband lats night and said "he is simply easier lately". We pondered for a minute what the cause might be. Was it camp? Is it the new school? Is it simply that he is getting older and understanding more. Are his communication skills better and so he finds that people understand him better? Is the change actually in us? Are we calmer? Do we have a better handle on how to deal with him? Is the fact that we have fully accepted who he is and what our life is the reason? Or is it a combination of all of these things.
A few months ago, maybe even closer to a year, I woke up one morning and realized that my life was difficult. I know that sounds ridiculous considering that everyone else on earth already knew it but it seems I was a little late to the game. What I mean is, obviously I recognized that I had a big challenge in life, one that many others don't face however, I simply thought (and often verbalized) that everyone has to play the cards they are dealt and these are my cards. There are no choices, as a parent you do what you have to and that is it. I downplayed the difficulty of the situation. Not that when issues came up or that when we had a rough day I didn't have my meltdowns or find it hard. It was more that I looked at the total package and spoke about it as if it just was. And then one day, I vocalized that my life was hard. As if it was some great epiphany! I think that was a turning point for me. It was in that moment of fully accepting that it was hard, and that it was ok to say so, that I began to feel more comfortable in my own skin as a mother of a child with special needs. It was in the recognition that it was ok to admit it that I let out a major sigh of relief and probably acceptance. I thought I was already there but obviously I wasn't fully there until that moment.
So maybe that is the difference, or maybe it is all of the things that I listed above. It is also possible that we are having a good month and next month will be hellish or maybe not. Maybe this is the beginning of the season of change. Either way, I will take it happily and hope I am not jinxing it by writing about it (I know you are thinking that Amanda, so please knock on wood for me as only you can).
I found myself at the Apple Genius Bar for the millionth time this month on Monday. While waiting for my turn I overheard Dumb and Dumber (as I have been fondly referring to them in repeating this story) talking. Dumb mentioned that she works with special needs children. Dumber responded that it must be tough to which Dumber replied "yeah it is, the parents are the real idiots though". I will stop there in my recitation of the story because the language and opinions only get more colorful. If you know me, you know it took all of my restraint not to get up and voice my opinion but since I had already labeled them Dumb and Dumber I decided it was probably a waste of breath. If I can try to extrapolate some wisdom from this eavesdropping (and I recognize that is a stretch) I would say that maybe there is some merit to it. The idea that our children sense our emotions and react is very real. Maybe just maybe my son sees that I am calmer and so he is too.
People often come to me for advice about issues with their children. Fair warning, it is entirely possible that I give bad advice so this is in no way a suggestion that you ask me, but I think I will give some at this moment to parents who are behind me in this journey. Don't think that just because you are the parent of a child with special needs you do what you have to do. You are selling yourself short. Many people would simply pull the covers over their head and not get out of bed. They wouldn't deal with it. They wouldn't be their childs best advocate. Instead they would cobble along and do what they can. Pat yourself on the back, admit that your life is difficult. Fully accept your child and your situation and in that moment I think you too will begin to feel the season of change.