I know I have belabored this point...
I have over thunk it, torn it apart, put it back together, and tried to refocus around it or through it, or something..
It may not show up in this forum that way, but all my friends have heard it, and my head has heard it too much..
Sometimes I am appalled at how much our parenting is compelled by fear... by guilt...
I was able to see my Mom's guilt, and determined to not pass it on to my kids, though I do not think I succeeded...
I was able to see how my father's fear defined our lives, and determined not to pass that on to my kids, but I didn't really succeed at that either...
The Autism is a driving Fear Factor in our household. We have inadvertently used it to try to motivate our son into meeting the new responsibilities and challenges he faces as he grows up. We are afraid. Afraid he will not be able to use a pubic bathroom independently (still.. at age 10). Afraid he will not put enough effort into studies to use his intellectual potential. Afraid he will not be able to eat at a table of people without disgusting them. Afraid he will make someone angry enough to hit back, verbally or physically. Afraid he will lock himself up emotionally with fear and not let us love him and help him. Afraid that he hates himself. Afraid he will hurt himself. Afraid he will hurt others.
Desperately, unspeakably afraid that someone will take him away from us, that someone will decide we just don't love him enough...
There is just so much fear.
We know he is a caring person. He keeps the secret of the Tooth Fairy and Santa for his younger sister and children everywhere (even though he argues with her that fairies are not real). He includes us in his daily story-telling as characters and in tat dialogue tells us that he loves us and understands our perspectives. As always, he tries very hard to engage us in play.
While Autism looms largest, it is not the only fear. Dyslexia is looming pretty large in our horizon.
We have allowed our fear that she will be taken advantage of to let us fall into that trap of saying the non-reader is lazy. Our daughter is a loving person, aware of people's feelings, trying to figure out the universe in this skewed version she's landed in. She loves movement, and struggles to hear and see like the rest of us. She is teaching her brother invaluable lessons in bending to others, sharing space and time, and being family. But we have hit a place where she is afraid she doesn't have what it takes, where she fear of the comparison that finds her lacking stifles her effort. She copes with her people skills - she asks for help. She acts helpless so that others will help her.
I am so very very tired of the fear. My heart is starting to tell me that we have NOTHING FEAR EXCEPT FEAR ITSELF. If we just play, if we just love them, won;t they know how fabulous they are? Won't they grow into the beauty we expect of them? Won't that really be all they really need?
It is easier for me on sunny days, but I am going to try REALLY, REALLY hard to just love them! to just PLAY with them! to just ENJOY MY CHILDREN.
I am going to set aside the workbooks and pressure. I am going to LOVE them!
And I need your help reminding me of all this as we move forward. I need you to remind me that loving people is more important than testing them, or molding them, or even teaching them.
And kudos to my parenting partner, to my husband, to their father, for helping me to rediscover the love in this journey on a constant basis.