Yesterday was a perfect example of a typical day for most exceptional families. It was a day filled with beauty and pain. When I finally did fall asleep after a very difficult evening where Michael had a hard time listening and regulating, I realized, however, all the beautiful moments that were there that I was feeling too sorry for myself to catch. These moments happened at Michael’s holiday school concert when I saw many friends of other exceptional children and had a chance to wave or chat. They also are all handling difficult child and life circumstances, but true to parents everywhere, are not giving up on being positive, at least on the surface. Mind you, I was doing that too, while feeling all the raw pain of wanting to run away from being a parent, even if only for a few days. I saw yesterday though, that all parents have their struggles with their children, their personal hardships, and their daily dramas. It’s how we handle them that shapes us and eventually our children. I admit that lately I have been tired of handling my personal family drama. I had a clear moment last night where I thought to myself I don’t need any more tools, I need a parenting break, but one that works for my child and me. He is not ready for respite care for a full day or night, but I so am and so does Dad. It was time we prioritized one for each of us until we can go away together and Michael is in good hands and can sleep away from home. It’s not easy even if he was ready to find respite for a child with autism and diabetes. It’s quite a lot to handle for most organizations or a single sitter.
Still, one of the things I am reading about in my the book I have talked of before “When Things Fall Apart-Heart Advice For Difficult Times”, by Pema Chodron talks about not running away from pain and suffering, but meeting it and accepting it. I am so mad because it is true. I don’t want to handle pain and suffering of seeing my son’s challenges at self-regulating going off the rails, see him stressed by high and low blood sugars. I don’t want my family handling it. But nonetheless it is there, and darn it, I see it is there to help us all to grow. Michael’s obstacles let him grow stronger, and Dad and I too, whether we want to or not. I am seeing every day how pain and joy go together hand in hand, and it is only by accepting both that we are truly living life. Think about it parents. No one knows this as much as a caregiver does. Life has ups and downs and we all need to navigate these to stay sane.
I went to bed like so many other nights thinking, “I can’t do this anymore. I want out.” I felt scared as today was a PED DAY and it was my turn to stay home. I did not think it would be good. Instead, Michael and I had a wonderful day. Michael understood that to have a good day he needed to make a schedule. He scheduled the day (with my permission), for a visit with Santa in the am and a walk around the shopping mall we were in, followed by a fun lunch at home, and an afternoon of sledding outside along with a scenic drive home looking at holiday nights close in our neighborhood. In the evening the injection went well, and most importantly Michael shocked me by taking his own blood sugar and recording the number in his book! I was so proud of him! With all the behaviors, anxiety and tears, here was a step towards maturity and responsibility that I was not expecting until much late. As usual, Michael proved me wrong in a good way. I made sure to praise him and tell him to keep up the good work. He deserved positive praise for making good choices today.
I also had the miracle of seeing Michael take an amazing picture with Santa, meet one of his bus friends at the mall and see my “big little boy” in action talking to his friend, and have fun sledding and seeing his skill and good listening outside with me. It is true that life has its ups and downs and that as a parent, you need to remember to believe the best in your child even when they and you have hard days and nights with them.
Exceptional Parents, what little miracles have you seen in your children, especially during the hard times? I’m sure they are there. It often takes other people, or the Universe or God pointing us to other people, who help us see our child’s potential and their soul’s beauty. As a parent if you are struggling with your exceptional child’s behavior, remember that things will get better especially when they look bleak. It’s all up to you, how you embrace those difficult moments and learn to grow from them. I know this in my soul, but personally sometimes it is easier to curl up in a corner and say no. Thankfully, the next day I wake up and say it’s time to start again. You can do it too parents and caregivers! Remember, there are always little miracles waiting around the corner. Until next time.
I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com