That's really what Life is intended to be though- right? A bunch of the good stuff?
Or is it 30 minutes on the treadmill and don't forget to pay for the utilities and eat less carbs and wear more sunscreen and be sure and get almond milk from the store before you get home from work?
Can't we find some in between? Some capital L in the boring yet sometimes necessary stuff?
Today I purposefully tried to find it-joy during the requisite tasks. Man, if I could nail that I think I would find the key to all of happiness. Both boys had their monthly Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) review- We call it Behavior Therapy for short and it's where they go to learn as well as unlearn inappropriate and harmful behaviors. For example- Grey's latest kick is spitting so he can watch his spit fall. He's fascinated by it. Stop laughing. It's not funny- okay sometimes it is a LITTLE funny. But it's consistently MUCH more annoying and gross than funny. He also sometimes hits himself on the head when he is asked to do something he doesn't want to do. That one makes me sad, and in order to make it go away we redirect his hands, and do not verbally acknowledge the behavior. You can't say, GREY!!! Don't hit yourself- because the correction reinforces the behavior and it makes him do it more. It took me a long while to unlearn what I thought I would say and do in parenting. For my boys, Behavior Therapy has been a blessed miracle. I don't sweat the behaviors nearly as much as I did at first, because just like any typical child- they move on to a new phase soon. With autism, you just hope the something new is an improvenment. Both the spitting and hitting showed up in the past month. They will go away.
I go to this meeting every single month to discuss the advancement and progress each boy is making in each skill they are learning. There are about ten running at a time, and once they master a skill, they progress to something else . This morning when I realized the meeting was today, I eye rolled inside my head. But I tried to think of it a different way- and I actually tricked myself into being excited for the meeting. Excited to see how much progress they are making in the tiny little things that unlock their mind. Excited to be their project manager.
And I looked around- each boy has their own entire team of therapists, as well as a manager- helping them learn and navigate the world. People trained to teach them in ways I can not. We are so incredibly lucky.
I wonder how many entire cumulative years of my life I have lived that other way though. The obligatory, often joyless way. I had so much time to do whatever I wanted, but I barely made time for what really mattered to me. And then I had a kid and a job and a mortgage and had to exercise and pay bills and go to three different grocery stores a week and I was VERY serious at being me and I took all the important things so seriously. And then I had another child and was even busier, and then one day, out of nowhere, as devastating events always are- BAM.
My entire life changed.
And after the denial and anger and shattering sad...
Came a sharp and blood flowing realization about what Life is actually all about. And I was almost, not quite, but kind of grateful for my realization, because it also fully reintroduced me to Life. It's made me realize how important life is. It's forced me to make time for my dreams, and then created more time to do it. It's given me the me I used to hope I would be.
There are moments and days of hard and aching and self-centered and what about me?! And I suck and am not enough and don't forget to pick up the almond milk...
But there are also dreams. Grown up make-believe. Play time. And when it's all stirred up it's so much better than the oh so serious me.
Make time for your dream. Whether you have zero kids or eight. Three jobs or none. Don't be like me. Don't wait for the darkness to show you the light. Go for your dreams. In tiny and big ways. You just can't afford not to. And if you don't know how to find your dream, start having outrageous and honest conversations with your people that you trust. Start taking ridiculous kind care of yourself. Sometimes the answers only come from the calm.
Today we had just a handful of minutes between therapy and more therapy. I knew exactly where we needed to go. I knew it the second we drove by early this morning. We needed to visit our friend God. And I like to pop in on him. And I know he doesn't mind.
No one has to remind Grey about capital L life. Hallelujah baby.
I have an easy time with God, but a hard time with church. A really hard time. I feel stifled there. It's too quiet and we are too loud; my boys and my loud mind. I try so hard to listen and sing and stand up and sit down and kneel eleventy-hundred times. And then I notice pretty shiny red shoes, so then I start to look at people's shoes. And then I see a little girl, and she is so sweet and well behaved, so then I admire her for a minute. Then I start to get annoyed with how well behaved she is. I want to ask the mom- Do you understand how well behaved she is?! But I don't because that is not sane. So then I remember I'm supposed to be paying attention to the church part of church, and I get mad at myself, and then I do all the wrong things over again.
I made my new Friend Nici's fig bars last week- remember the ones I told you about HERE? They made my house smell so good and I was so proud of me. I was so excited to bite in their warm gooeyness that I was shocked when they tasted like feet. Feet and stinky old man and dead animal. I AM COMPLETELY SERIOUS. I don't know what I did wrong. Hers were so good and mine were lethal.
And I think what I don't like about cooking is what I also have a hard time with about church. I'm bad at it. And it's this one set exact way every time. I feel stifled by copying a recipe. And you have to follow the rules exactly or people get bent out of shape and fig bars get ruined. And you aren't supposed to get creative and throw in a dash of cinnamon if it calls for nutmeg. And CERTAINLY don't use rice flour if it calls for wheat. That's what I'm blaming my feet bars on- the gluten free flour I used.
So that's why today we went to church. Because I have to believe sometimes it's just okay to show up and find church when you find it- outside of the walls. Not just at 10:30am on a Sunday morning. I asked God and he said he was down with wherever I wanted to hang. He said I could throw in some nutmeg and improvise.
Whether you find God at a church or on a hike or on a sunshiney patio with friends and a salted glass with an ice cold beer, I think there is no wrong answer. Just what works for beautiful you.
Happy Trash Truck Eve, (thanks for that term Miracle)
Find Life with Greyson + Parker on Facebook. I promise I won't cook for you.