Thursday, May 20, 2010

Forgiving Yourself

I read a blog yesterday on my google reader that touched me.  Even though I don’t know Jenny Alice I like to read her posts and sometimes I even feel as if I know her a little bit.  I like how she writes.  I think she crafts what she writes while my words just sort of spill out of me.  My voice tends more towards writing history papers and I think that hers probably pauses at flowers.  I like reading beautiful word play.  When Bri was in second grade I made the mistake of reading the first Harry Potter book out loud to her.  I like the series but reading it aloud was torturous!  It takes so long to say the words that I had time to read ahead in my mind.  I started editing Rawlings.  I noticed that she was too wordy and used the same words too frequently.  I came up with corrections and wanted to stop reading it but Bri wanted to continue.  Finally we finished and I decided she should hear what a good book sounded like so I started reading Tuck Everlasting to her.  Tuck Everlasting was one of my favorite books in middle school.  It’s beautifully written and filled with gorgeous words.  Naturally, Bri disliked it and only listened to the first several pages before she refused to hear any more.

In her post Jenny Alice writes about falling short.  While I suspect all mothers believe that they fall short, I believe there is a special category for the mothers of children with special needs.  There is so much to constantly do, so much need, such a large deficit and the result is dramatically different than one can expect from a typically developing child.  For years I’ve watched therapists work dedicatedly with my children to help them develop skills.  I can’t do that day after day, year after year.  I get tired.  I go on a vacation.  My routine get messed up and I can’t manage to back in the habit.  I look at the years that have stretched behind me and the years ahead and want to get something to eat and sit down in front of the most mindless TV show I can stomach.

I appreciate my friend Marcy.  She decided to change her attitude years ago.  She often says about autism that she “knows what it’s not.”  And sometimes I need to hear that.  Her attitude about a lot of things can be illustrated by an event that occurred when we were in New York a couple of months ago.  We were staying at the Ritz Carlton overlooking Central Park.  It’s not my kind of hotel but my husband travels so he turned in hotel points and you can’t beat free.  One morning we asked the concierge for recommendations for breakfast.  We wanted to eat north of the hotel closer to the Met.  We stumped the two concierges who were trying to help us.  “We don’t usually send our guests that direction for breakfast.”  One said.

Marcy piped up, “We don’t need fabulous.  We just need adequate.” I mentioned to Marcy on the way to breakfast that the concierges at the Ritz Carlton probably have never heard that before nor will again.

Adequate is alright.  The times we are spot on can be averaged with the times we fall short.  And even though people don’t aspire to be adequate, I think over the lifetime of parenting a child with special needs we should cut ourselves some slack.  Recognizing we can and should do better should go hand in hand with recognizing when we do well.  We would all be happier if we held ourselves to the same standards that we hold others to.


Kim Wombles said...

So very well said. :-)

Casdok said...

Very true.

Anonymous said...

There are many kinds of people and attitudes in the world. Among them are people who are easily satisfied and people who need things to be perfect. I am happily in the easily satisfied group (except when it comes to my weight). I hear many people struggling to get things to be "just right". I always invite to my world of "its fine, be done, move on". But they can't. Marc

Life as the mother of 4 said...


Marc -- I like that. it's fine, be done, move on

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