Wednesday, June 12, 2013

both or neither

There's nothing like an end of the year program to feel like a card carrying parent...

The kids at Greyson's typical preschool have been practicing forever and last night was the actual program...

And it was brutal... terrible...It just plain sucked...Even though it went down pretty much exactly like I expected...

But it was so sharp it stung, which I didn't expect... I was so sad. 

I decided that Greyson would try to stand on stage for one song- Slippery Fish- Parker's favorite. And Greyson hated every ounce and every second of it. He laid on the ground and screamed. He ran around the stage. He hit his teacher shadow because he was mad. It was all just so bad... 

And they had reserved a bench for us in the front row- and there I sat watching- paralyzed... Until I couldn't watch any longer so I tried to subtly get on stage... Hoping Greyson would be more cooperative for me. No luck. There was no reaching him... So we waited the song out- which I swear lasted 48 minutes and we went outside...

And I was so deep inside my own head you could have walked by me naked with clown makeup on and I wouldn't have noticed.

And a little while later as the program was ending, parents began trickling out of the church. 
We have to go to the car... Now... I said to Michael as if my very life depended on it. 
I just couldn't stand there and chat as if my heart wasn't breaking. I couldn't pretend like nothing was wrong. I couldn't pretend like I wasn't jealous that they got to experience something I so desperately wanted I could taste it.

And so we left... And we drove home in silence. At times like that Michael and I usually find it difficult to connect. And what usually ends up happening is we get into a fight which then makes it all worse... So I just sat in silence and  I just breathed in and out...

And once the initial sharp sting wore off I started to therapy myself...

Why did it make you sad? Were you sad that Greyson was out of his comfort zone and you felt bad for him?


Were you embarrassed by the way he acted in front of everyone?

No... The way he acted is the way he sometimes wasn't that crazy for him- I know I was expecting a lot... He screamed and laid on the ground and didn't try to participate at all...
There was so much going on it was hard to see him- and his screaming was muffled by the zillion other littles so I wasn't embarrassed. I'm sure people were more focused on their own child. I didn't care what they thought about mine.

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Screw you autism

So what made you so sad? 

I was mad at Grey... And mad is just another word for sad... Sad that he wouldn't just stand there and sing the damned song (even though he can't sing or talk). Sad he wouldn't do the gestures or stand in one spot.

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Sad that I couldn't just sit there and watch him and smile... Sad that I was tense and stressed the entire time... I just wanted to sit there and experience a school program like it is meant to be experienced... And I was sad that wasn't in the cards for me... And sometimes I just want easy... Just maybe 5 minutes- all in a row...of easy...

And my feelings are so dramatic... I feel so much... Which is good because it means I deeply feel love and compassion and happy down to my toes...but is also so hard because it means sometimes I feel so much and so raw that it hurts much much much too much.

And by today the sadness was gone... I love Greyson for who he is- not what he sometimes does. He's only 4-and he has autism...  and I realized sometimes I need to try and keep my expectations in check.

And today I randomly opened an amazing book to page 161...The book is called, Carry on Warrior by Glennon Melton, and I realized that every ounce of residual sadness was gone... And I liked the words so much I wanted to share them with you...

Every child is gifted and talented. Every single one. I know this to be true. Every single child is gifted and talented in a particular area. Every single one also has particular challenges. For some kids, the classroom setting is the place where their genius is hardest to see and their challenges are easiest to see. And since they spend so much time in the classroom, that's a tough break for these little guys. But if we are patient and calm and we wear our perspectacles and we keep believing, we will eventually see the specific magic of each child... We can start by erasing the idea that education is a race. It's not. Education is like Christmas. We're all just opening our gifts, one at a time. And it is a fact that each and every child has a bright shiny present with her name on it, waiting there underneath the tree. God wrapped it up, and he'll let us know when it's time to unwrap it. In the meantime, we must believe that our children are okay. Every last one of them. The straight-A ones and the ones with autism and the naughty ones and the chunky ones and the shy ones and the loud ones and the so-far-behind ones.
Because here's what I believe: a child can survive a teacher or other children accidentally suggesting that he's not okay, as long as when he comes home, he looks at his mama and knows by her face that he really is okay. Because that's all they're asking, isn't it?
Mama, am I okay?
In the end, a child will call the rest of the world liars and believe his mama.
So when he asks us with his eyes and heart if he's okay, let's tell him: Yes, baby. You are okay. You are more than okay. You are my dream come true. You are everything I've ever wanted, and I wouldn't trade one you for a million anybody elses. This part of life, this school part, might be hard for you. But that's okay, because it's just one part of life. And because we can do hard things, together. We are a team. And I am so grateful to be on your team.

And suddenly I realized I was actually proud of Grey. We attempted something that wasn't a slam dunk. We failed by traditional definition- but we I think we are actually winners. I love Grey deeply and completely for who he is. His gifts are plenty...He reminds me, life is so good... life is so hard...and it can either be both or neither...

Today I told Grey he could put his feet in the pool...which he did...

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Plus some other parts...

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Grey- I am so happy to be on your team.

So much Love it sometimes hurts,



  1. I feel the same thing every week at gymnastics. I get so MAD at him but really I am mad at the autism. And its my beautiful boy that takes the brunt of that feeling. Its so unfair. I pray for peace and acceptance but its hard to balance that with determined mama doing early intervention. Hugs and hope from one mom to another. ~Laura

  2. Can I just tell you, that I love your is so real, and refreshing to read such honesty....that I'm not crazy for being really sad at the video of my 11 month old niece talking and everybody in my family going on and on about how smart she is, when my 2 1/2 year old is still not conversational, and really delayed in all areas....We just moved to California 3 weeks ago and are still waiting on speech and ABA to start back up again, (OT started this week) and I see a major regression of 3 weeks of no therapy. I'm super anxious to get started and start the navigation of an IEP for my sweet girl who will be 3 in Oct. Thanks for writing so honestly and open. Your photography is gorgeous too! If you know of any good resources for Socal I would love to know about them! We live in Oceanside. Thanks again!