The other day Michael was feeling anxious before going to an activity for the first time. I was so proud of him when he spoke the following words.
“Mommy, can we go for a short walk? It will help me calm down.”
There was no time to go as we had to leave soon, so I offered other alternatives to calming down. He chose a massage and cuddling with a pillow. Sometimes he uses a big stuffed animal. 🙂 After we came back from that activity though, I noticed he still seemed edgy. I offered him a chance to do the walk then. He agreed, and we did a nice forty-five minute walk around our neighborhood. As is usually the case, Michael would be quiet or stimming walking alongside me, then start asking me questions. It was the questions that he was asking that made me really proud at how much he was maturing and handling his emotions.
“Why do we have to learn to read, write and do math?”
“Because you will be able to do more for yourself, get a job, be independent, drive a car.”
“And I live alone one day?”
“But I want to live with you and Daddy?”
“You can live with us as long as you need to.”
“OK. Or I can live alone or with friends or get married.”
Then the next set of questions come at bedtime, when I am lying down with him after his routine is finished. Then it’s usually the questions of life and death.
“Will you be in heaven when I get there Mommy?”
“Why do we have to die?”
“Because no one can live forever honey.”
“What’s heaven like?”
“No one who has gone has come back to tell us Michael, but I believe it is a beautiful paradise. You’ll be happy there.”
“Oh. Will I be able to talk about directions.” I’m holding in my laughter.
“Yes. You will do fun and happy things there.”
“Are God and Jesus in my heart when I’m angry?”
“No. When you’re angry you’re not letting them in. But they are always there for you. And they love you very much. They will always forgive you, just like Daddy and I.”
“I love you Mommy. You’re the best Mommy God gave me.”
Me taking a deep breath so as not to start crying. The kid has me swinging on the pendulum of all emotions!
“And you’re the best son God gave me. Time to close your eyes and go to bed now. Goodnight.”
In watching Michael fall asleep, I was struck by two things. One, was how far he had come to talking about his fears of separation and death, normal fears for people of any age, and two, how he was recognizing what his body needed at any given time. He was recognizing when he needed to be quiet, when he needed to exercise, and when he needed to talk. He was reminding me how I had to do the same thing, check in with my body, mind and spirit, and see what it needed at any given time.
How do your Exceptional Children tell you what you need more or less of, Exceptional Moms? How do they communicate to you what they need? It’s very important that we all learn to periodically check in with ourselves and ask ourselves the following questions, “What do I need right now? Can I give it myself?” A wonderful therapist wrote these questions down for me. When I feel like I am losing my patience, (or have lost it), I repeat these questions to myself. If I don’t know the answer, I find a quiet space to think about it. When I have the answer, I do my best to be present for myself. By doing that, I can be present for others and handle life and emotions in a mature and balanced way, the way Michael is showing me to. Until next time.