I had another great talk with Michael at bedtime last night. As with most children, it is when he opens up the most to me. Our conversation was about two topics that used to fill me with great stress, advocating for myself and asking others for help. Our conversation went something like this.
“Mommy, I want my companion at camp to help me be less nervous. She helps me sing the camp songs and dance, but what I really need help with is calming down when it gets noisy with the other kids.”
“But honey, you have your headphones from home, and when we forgot them yesterday, you had the headphones that the camp has, right? Didn’t that help with the noise?”
“Yes, it did a bit, but when I told Jane that I’m nervous with the noise and all the kids even with my headphones, she told me it’s ok and not to worry.”
“What would you have liked her to do honey?”
“I would have liked her to take me to a quiet room so I could have stimmed and calmed down there.”
“Did you try asking her to do this Michael?”
“No, Mommy. I didn’t know if she would have done it. Can you tell her I need that tomorrow? Can you help me Mommy?”
My heart broke for my little guy while swelling with pride at the same time, pride at how well he knows himself and what he needs, and sadness that he is scared to ask for it. He is still little and this is hard so I agree.
“Of course I will help you Michael. I think that Jane will listen to you, but if it’s easier, I will tell her.”
“Yes, Mommy. She’ll listen to you because you’re my Mommy and you’re always there for me. Thank you! I love you!’
“And I love you!”
We hug and I am so thrilled that his first neuro typical camp experience is going well for the most part. But I believe Michael too that he feels sometimes overwhelmed with the noise and bigness of it. This conversation made me realize how much better Michael is with knowing his boundaries at eight years old than I was in my twenties and thirties. Now in my early forties, I asked myself last night do I know my boundaries with people and things? The answer was a yes, I’m happy to report. I have particularly learned a lot about them in the last year, and am finally seeing what my body and soul need to feel whole and calm. I also know I have my advocates whom I can turn to, my family, my close friends, my support groups, composed of both writers and other Moms.
Exceptional Moms, do you ask for help for yourself as well as you do for your Exceptional Child? Are you always there for you like you are for them? There’s no shame in asking for help and for what you need to get through the tough situations in life. After all, you’re not only advocating for your child, you are advocating for yourself. Only when you are strong, will everyone benefit from the gift you are meant to bring to the world, the gift of whatever talent you personally possess. Your child is one extension of that gift, the rest is your light to shine on in this world. Until next time.