Thursday, February 27, 2014

always learning

Famous jazz musician Miles Davis said- You have to be able to play a long time before you are able to play like yourself. A statement that is true for so many of our passions. I certainly feel that when I cut through the clutter knocking away fear or ego or insecurity to rediscover my true voice when I write. Sometimes it takes me a few tries and erases to find my own inner rhythm. 

It's certainly true about Moming. It's taken me almost 5 years and numerous ass whoopings(mine) to find a rhythm all my own in motherhood. That doesn't mean that some new transition won't come along and shake me- it does and it will continue to, and for a moment I will think I know nothing about anything and that I suck. And I will stumble along imperfectly - as we have no other option but to, and I will realize in time- the beautiful melody I hear is actually coming from me.

I used to live in the future. 
What if Greyson isn't capable of mainstreaming? (Mainstreaming is when special education students are taught in an inclusion setting in a regular education classroom). 
What if he doesn't ever talk? 
What if he never falls in love or gets a job or can survive on his own? 

Nights wasted thinking about my boys in some home after I die - leaving a sickening thud in my chest and acid in my throat, demons unable to coexist with sleep, surrounding and suffocating me. Slowly I pulled myself out of that nightmare- not to say I don't fall back there for a moment at times. I just stopped abusing myself that way.That thinking is the exact opposite of how I want to harness the power of my mind. A complete contrast from where my boys need me to focus. It doesn't prepare me for the future- it sucks the joy out of now

But the truth is - none of us are guaranteed any of those things- love or health, success or stability, a job or even a Volvo. That makes my sons no different than anyone else in the world- in a good kind of way. All we ever have is today, and so today is where the majority of my thoughts lie. The future is too scary- but today? Today I can handle. And that thinking process frees me up to focus on the things within my control and in my reach. It helps me open my mind to a future with possibility- not pain.

I no longer have a list of expectations for Greyson and Parker. Now I have only one: that they be happy. Honestly. If I make speaking or love or a job the destination there is an assumption that happy only lies within those things specifically. I want to make sure they know the actual path to everything can be paved in happy- no matter where the path ends. I know plenty of people who have everything in the world- including health and money and love and stability- who still are not happy. I want to create their happy while teaching them how to create happy of their very own too.  

I think as parents it's our job to be their source of happy- and more importantly, a source to teach them to find their own flavor of happy. And your definition of happy will be passed along the branches of your family tree still growing. My definition of happy is not buying something or being something or having something. It's a feeling of peace within. We have to listen for the silence- the happy we feel when doing something we love. 

I feel that when I'm outside- and my boys do too. When we are outside- we are not simply bystanders. We are the trees and the water and even the sky too. We are at peace. Today during our lunch break we went to our favorite frog pond. There were cartoon skies and white cotton candy clouds. Inside was not an option.

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Learning is everywhere. Here is the San Joaquin River- the largest river of Central California in the United States. The 366-mile river starts in the high Sierra Nevada, and flows through a rich agricultural region known as the San Joaquin Valley before reaching the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. I like to examine my home like I'm a tourist. I put a little less demand for learning in the classroom and Behavior Therapy and now try and spread it out into the real world. Parker and Greyson each get 20 hours of Behavior Therapy- plus an endless supply of real world adventure. I love learning- especially if I get to see it and touch it. I want to teach them to love learning too.

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Parker and some Prickley Pear

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Once there was a tree and she loved a little boy...

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They like to take sticks and swirl them in the water, gathering vines and leaves. They would do it for days if I let them. 

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Parker likes to examine the algae-covered stuff he fishes out.

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I had to remain inches away from Parker at all times. He's fallen into this pond twice--I refused to document a third.  While I had my eagle claw on Parker... 

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Greyson slipped and fell in. Fuuuudgggeee. He was so sad and wet and swampy and I felt TERRIBLE. What kind of mother am I if I can't even keep them safe? Bitch me said to me. And once he was calm and okay, all I could do was laugh...Even bitch me had to laugh. She feels so much better after she lightens up.

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And laugh...

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And laugh... I am still laughing now. Dress courtesy of the Gap--Mom's shirt. Thank goodness I had a tank top underneath it.  

What can you do but laugh? I like to learn the hard way- by trying, and failing and trying again. I had a little heart to heart with myself while driving home.There's much worse parenting guffaws than a spontaneous dip in a pond. In fact- Smack dab in the middle of this kind of situation is where the best parenting moments and greatest life lessons lie. Learning hidden deep inside. They watch us in the stressful moments- and it teaches them how to handle stress. I think laughing is sometimes the best way.

I'm not going to let a fall into the pond change how we roll. I won't let it create fear. We will still get too close sometimes. We only have one chance to go through this life, and we want to do it in the front row, soaking up as much as we can while were at it. And one day when we are grown- I will forever remember these as some of the greatest days of my life. 



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  1. Yes, you will remember these days with your precious, little boys so fondly. You are light years ahead of where I was when my boys were that young. Keep laughing, forgiving yourself when you don't and cherishing each lovely moment. Time rolls by faster than we think!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing. My kids also love the outdoors and find such happiness in the wonder of nature. I am looking very forward to spring so we can enjoy more time outside too.

  3. I so needed to read this today. As my son was just diagnosed I find myself getting tangled up in thoughts about the future- mainstreaming, talking, independence. I know it is so scary and I need to stop. Thank you for this reminder to focus on today. As always- wonderful post, beautiful pictures.

  4. I admire your attitude and the way you handled the fall in. Your boys are very lucky to have you for their mom! As always, thanks for the inspiration Chrissy! I'm still carrying around the gem from the last post that my happy is inside me. Such an empowering thought!

  5. I love this. For a long time, I resisted taking my boys too far out or on too many adventures, because it seemed too hard or because I was afraid of the things that could happen. We've learned to go out, enjoy the moments, and be ready to call it a day and try again another time if it really isn't working. Love that you kept going even after one of those moments.

  6. I love reading your blog everyday. I especially loved this post today. Thank you.

  7. Oh Friend, you speak the scary truth. Our little loves will learn to handle stress the way they see us handle stress. Scary to me because I suck at it. BIG TIME! And, I do try. So, while I still suck 98% of the time, I got a teeny bit better at sucking less when he spills his snack all over. Ok, I tell him - Clean it up. No big deal. He says, Really? and picks it up. then he makes a song about it - Clean it up, it's no big deal, Clean it up, it's no big deal. Do ya like my song, Mom? Of course, my love.
    He is so used to me reacting badly, when I don't it is reason for new songs & celebration. Ouch!
    This Momming gig is HARD!
    Thanks for letting me know I'm not the only one.
    Love & happiness to you, sweet Momma! Jen

  8. Great post. I know the feeling. Your boys will be capable of so much, esp having a mom like you! My oldest is about to turn 7(He is on the autism spectrum). He has really started to share so much with us! He hardly said much at all besides for labeling items (when he began kindergarten). He is in an autistic support class but integrated into the regular ed first grade for morning meeting , etc. He loves it and has really come such a long way. The other children are so encouraging. He presented a show and tell project recently which entailed showing pictures of our family and telling his classmates that he goes to the beach on vacation and likes the boardwalk rides, and playing in the sand. He made eye contact and spoke loudly and really did an incredible job. (I was so surprised!) I was so stressed and nervous for him. I never thought we would be at this place.(this soon) My heart used to break when I would think of the things he may possibly miss out on. I'll do anything I can to ensure that he is Happy. I feel confident he will be able to do what he wants to do in life, but your right it might not be the certain things that everyone else feels are required for happiness.

  9. thanks for some truth about how to deal with those worries about the future that haunt sleepless nights. thanks for the happy pics of warm weather - i try and embrace our long canadian winter but i sure look forward to summer! and my boy fell into a slimy pond up to his waist last year and I'm proud to say that once i fished him out without falling in myself I had a good laugh about it too i'm proud to say! learning every day how to just roll with it and find the joy and your words are a sweet encouragement. thank you!

  10. Loving your blog every single day from here in frigid NY. Trying to let go of the guilt, the "what if" mindset, the feeling that somewhere in his infancy I caused my son's sensory issues. You are helping me see the good and stop blaming myself. Lisa

  11. At a recent appt. with my son’s developmental pediatrician she gave me a great piece of advice. Do not let yourself worry about the future. Think only 3 months in advance. Your son is going to change SO much over time and there is no way to tell what he will be doing in the future. Work on the next three months…that you can do.