Friday, April 12, 2013

Where are you going? Where have you been?

In all that's happened to us in the last two months, it's necessary for me to take stock of all the wins and losses if I am going to figure out this ongoing maze of raising kids with autism.

It's a testimony to my faith that I've been able to see the wins and victories in the spaces between the heartbreak and losses. Hubby has been the level-headed one lately, and thank God one of us has his head on straight. I've been so busy tailspinning that it's been hard for me to do much between crying and trying not to cry.

Last weekend was as bad as it's been in about 7 years. My immediate response to depression is to completely shut down; last week, with all my responsibilities, that was an impossibility. And that in it of itself was a blessing;  I

  •   ran track practice and got to see, once again, the glory and wonder that is my team
  •   spent an evening under the stars around a campfire among the best parents I know
  •   spent a large part of a fishing afternoon with my den helping the boys with their tackle
  •   was tapped by a dad whose boy was in tears 'to lend a mom's touch.' He dried his eyes--and made an awesome fire with my help
  • received great feedback for Nic from his group facilitator and last, but far from least
  • Nic received a 6th place ribbon for shot put--with no training. We might have found something for him. 
But I can't look at these things without acknowledging
  • that his posse never came to pass. I was reminded of that this past week when Nic said he ran into a friend of his. (I use that term loosely) The friend was meeting another friend. And Nic was there alone.
  • that he and his brother still don't know how to sustain peer interaction. At all.
  • that some of the things I pushed Nic to do failed miserably and will have lasting consequences.

    I was up again in the middle of the night pondering my younger son's scout outing last night.  This picture is a pretty frank assessment of his opinion.

And asking the question: do I push too hard?

There's no simple answer. There's no all or nothing. Everything has to be tempered with moderation.  Their conversational tacks, really, are no different than mine at their ages. I consumed books with the same fire and avidity that they consume stories--books, YouTube, videos--and feel the same need to share blow-by-blow details to anyone who will listen. Peers don't. Adults feel sorry for them. I'm doing all I can do outside of school with psych, social skills groups, whatever I can think of to help them out here. I sometimes think the schools can be doing more to help me out here. I've despaired on that score; budget cuts make it a virtual impossibility. 

So hubby and I are exploring other options. And with so much of our lives up in the air, I'm planning in so far as I can plan. But I find myself more and more seeking divine guidance,  because I am finding that the more I seek, the more I am answered. And I don't always like the answer, but I am certain that the answers are what they are for a much larger reason than I can understand in the moment.

The gift of age: understanding that every piece of your life, the good, the bad, the ugly, happens for a very specific reason, for a very specific lesson.

"And I never lost one minute of sleeping 
Worrying 'bout the way things might have been ......"

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Family We Choose

Two of my favorite people appear here. 

I took this picture on Saturday, and find myself looking at it, smiling, looking some more, and wondering a little bit why I need to keep looking at it. 

And why I keep smiling. And wondering. 

And I arrive at a few different places, or perhaps one place via a few different routes. When I look at this picture, I look at something that didn't exist in my world growing up.  My father died early in my life; I never knew, really, either of my grand dads; one died when my father was 5, and the other passed early in my second year.  I vaguely remember his voice, but ultimately am not sure if it's his voice or my elder sister's recollection of it that I remember.

Fr. M arrived well into my adult life, materializing at age 35--and I remember at the time wondering at his arrival. He attended the same high school as my father, and our cultural similarities allow us a shorthand that allows us to fit in hours-long conversations in the space of minutes. 

But looking at this pic gives me another view. My younger son with this man who could easily be his grandfather, enjoying his company, sharing his book, reminds me that even though life deals us some strange cards, that we get the people we need to help us through the rough times.  I smile, thinking of the 'brothers' I now have who are not bound to me by blood but by love, how fortunate I am for my sisters who are likewise kin. 

We cannot choose family?  Not true. Those people I am closest to share my heart, not my blood. 

Although my two young ones are the exception. Not the rule.