I got some great advice from a friend who told me, years ago, that you have to love the child you have today. I’ve generalized that to other things like “love the body you have today” which helped during my not-so-flattering pregnancies, and I think it might be the soundest, most calming advice I’ve been given.
But I’m not very good at it. I am the person who always looks at what’s coming, what’s down the road. I’m rarely satisfied, which means I push myself and others until, oh wait it just keeps going, I push and push some more.
With Holds it’s been a lesson in parenting to watch him be different. To watch other kids get annoyed with him because he’s not “connecting” to their conversation. To watch him struggle so hard with transitions and change. I truly love my child, but I still find it hard to believe that he’s always going to be different. I am working really hard to help him, but sometimes I wonder if I’m doing it more for me than him.
Yesterday at his school Christmas program, I realized that I was THAT mom. The one with the weird kid who couldn’t hold still during the program, who made strange arm movements completely out of step with all 14 other kids. The one who couldn’t contain his body from moving and dancing to some of the songs – while the other children stood stick straight. I am the mom who every parent turned and sympathy smiled at because her kid was the oddball.
I try daily to minimize the differences between Holds and other kids. I assist him in his conversations, prompt him constantly, and try to bring him into a relevant interaction. I am so good at it, that I can forget that he’s neurodiverse. So when he’s standing on a stage and I can’t do anything about his differences, it hits me all over again.
I know what you’re all thinking – she needs to relax and just accept him. But let me tell you that it is easier said than done. I feel like every time my kid goes into one of his neurological tantrums or acts “autistic” other parents are just inwardly thanking God that it’s not their kid. It makes me understand why so many parents of ASD children find it unbearable to be around nuerotypcial kids and their parents.
But I’m going to take your advice. I’m going to ease up a little and try harder to accept that he is who he is. And as a first step, I’m going to repost some videos of him as a tiny kid who LOVED to dance. He has always been a crazy dancing machine. And I accept and love that about him.