Michael amazed me once more at the end of the week. We had an up and down week with his blood sugars and build up of nighttime anxiety and fears returning. We had beautiful bonding and calm daytime behavior. We also had some behaviors returning (and coming to a head on the weekend). But despite all of this, Michael’s spirit, as always, was adventurous and he surprised me by agreeing to go somewhere I was worried he would not go at all this year-catechism. He has not been interested to come to church with me in many months. It is hard for him as he can’t stay with the adults, and does not want to be in the Sunday school at the moment. There are a lot of kids there and he finds it overwhelming. We wanted him to do his Confirmation and he enjoyed his Communion preparation so I signed him up hoping for the best. We missed the first two weeks due to Michael not feeling well then me the second week, but last week he announced on the Friday afternoon that he was willing to try to go. It didn’t hurt that he got to wear his Halloween costume and would probably get a goody bag, but his real answer for going both impressed me and warmed my heart:
“I’m afraid Mommy and I want to pray to God to help me be strong. Is that a good strategy to help me with my fear?”
“You are already strong and brave honey, but asking God for help when you are scared is a wonderful strategy. I am so proud of you!”
I had almost given up that he would change his mind about attending catechism. I was thinking of going to sessions myself and teaching him at home. I was debating whether to pull out and try again next year. I didn’t know what to do. I prayed to God too for guidance. My prayers were answered. As always, Michael’s strength, positive spirit, and willingness to try new things reminded me why people besides us love him. On Sunday, we went around shopping for some extra Halloween decorations, a birthday gift for a friend, and his usual walk around his favorite mall. There we encountered the manager of one of his favorite store. She gave him a hug and insisted on buying him a small bit of candy. I assured him he could have a little bit here and there. 🙂 Then we ran into people from our church. The excitement he felt in seeing them was reflected in their eyes in seeing him. And I thought of it again. Michael is light. Pure light. He brings joy and positivity to so many people. I have made more friends out of total strangers when he is with me than at any other time. His smile and energy is infectious. And even on the days when we are having a hard time at home, I remember Michael is a beautiful little boy who shines in spite of his challenges. It’s important as his Mom that I remember that and help bring more of it out at home when he is struggling.
Struggling and behaviors happen when our children feel unstable, fearful and uncertain. As much as our Exceptional Kids can talk, communication is still a big challenge for them, especially interpreting theirs and other people’s feelings. As I learn to read Michael better I learn to tune in to reading myself better. He has taught me that I can be having a challenging day, but it does not have to defeat me. I can still find something positive and in my fear or worry, take a risk or plunge into the unknown. There is no one braver than my child and he pushes me past my own limits daily. Just when I think there is something I can’t do, I think of Michael. He does it with ease or difficulty, but he keeps on pushing ahead, finding beauty, joy and forgiveness.
Exceptional Parents, how have your Exceptional Children surprised you in the past or present moment? Remember, never underestimate that something will not happen that your child previously said they would not do. They will surprise you! Keep in mind what they battle every day inside and outside their bodies. They are all brave little people and we need to remind ourselves that stretching past our fears will only help us show them another example of resilience. Until next time.
I am a writer, speaker and parent coach whose son with Autism and Type 1 Diabetes has shown me a whole new way to see the world and embrace the joy of living in the moment! I believe in empowering parents to trust their own instincts when it comes to their children, and in helping them parent with love, respect and confidence on their own exceptional parenting journey.
For more information on my coaching services, for a FREE 30 min consultation, and to receive a copy of my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY,” see my website: www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.