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forgiveness

Forgiving anyone is no small task, but it’s doable.  Forgiving yourself…now that can be tricky.  In order to forgive anyone, you have to acknowledge the hurt, pain, disappointment, and/or frustration.  You can’t keep walking around acting like it’s ok.  As parents we go into “it’s ok” mode quickly, it makes it easy to move to the next task.  If I sit and think about how hurt I am, then I’ll start crying and then I may want to talk and I just don’t have time for that right now so let’s just push these feelings over into a nice little corner and move on.  We’re good, right?  On the outside we all know how to make it look like we’re good but on the inside not so much.  Me being a mom (of a beautiful autistic young lady might I add), I can say that I can be extremely hard on myself as a parent.  You can try to encourage me all you want but all I hear is wah wah wah wah wah (Charlie Brown’s teacher’s voice).  I’ve had family and friends tell me: You’re doing a great job, You can’t do it all, It’s ok, You need to take a break, You’re too hard on yourself, I don’t know how you do it…..wah wah wah wah.  Because my self talk is the total opposite…I’m telling myself, You suck, You can be so stupid, You’re not a good mother, She deserves more…that’s my self talk…kind of horrible.  If I talked to anyone else like this, I’d need to ask for forgiveness because it’s not acceptable…I deserve that same courtesy.

Being an autistic mom (or mom of an autistic child), there has been and will always be times when I need to be the advocate.   There has been and will always be times when I see what she doesn’t and I need to be her voice.  Whether it be at school, at church, or just in the grocery store.  There are people that still don’t understand autism, they still stare at her (adults moreso than children), they still try to give me criticism dressed up as advice on basically what can be done to make them feel comfortable with my child being autistic & sharing space with them.  I have to forgive myself for all of the times that I was too afraid to…or felt that I didn’t know enough to…or was just too shocked at the time to stand up for my daughter and be her voice.  But I also have to make sure that the next time, I’m ready.

There’s so many more things that I need to forgive myself for, and until I started writing this post I never even thought about it.  At the end of the day (I hate that I typed that phrase) I want to be the best mother that I can be and be the mother that my daughter needs me to be.  And to do that I can’t be drained from the negative self talk and beating up myself for every decision.  In the words of the oh so wise Else from Frozen I have to (sing it with me) Let It Go & embrace what is, accepting the complement sand encouragement without saying “yeah but”.  Just let it go 🙂

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I was helping my daughter with her homework the other day.  And I was so happy and proud to see her writing, counting, sounding out words and….well…let’s go back about 4 years so you can understand.

Four years ago my daughter was 3 years old and she had a vocabulary of about 20-30 words, she was barely writing, not answering questions like “what is your name”, and when playing she didn’t interact with other children.  My daughter was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3, and I had no clue as to what I needed to or should do next.  Initially, I did get caught up in what I wanted for her because autism was not on my agenda.  But I soon adopted the motto “it’s not about you” when it came to her.  It’s not about me and my parental ego.

  • But she’ll have to see a therapist….it’s not about you
  • But we may not be able to go everywhere everyone else goes due to sensory issues now….it’s not about you
  • But she can’t be in a regular class in school right now….it’s not about you
  • But this isn’t what I wanted for her….it’s not about you

My daughter could care less about the particular class she’s in or seeing a therapist, that’s just my parental ego.  What will benefit her most?  That’s the question, and whatever the answer is…that’s what I need to be doing.  Autism isn’t the end of the story, it’s a condition that we must learn as it pertains to the individual and make the proper adjustments in our lives.  It affects the nervous system, which allows us to perceive/comprehend/and respond to the world around us.  So autistic persons just perceive/comprehend/and respond differently…that’s it.

Temple Grandin said it best (and if you haven’t seen Temple Grandin’s HBO movie you should) by saying she sees the world in pictures.  That’s not to say she’s not able to see the world, and comprehend what’s around her…she just processes it differently.

NOW let’s fast forward 4 years to me watching my daughter do her homework the other day.  She’s writing very well, she’s counting & writing numbers, she’s telling me objects that begin with the letter she’s writing…..now can you see why I’m a happy and proud mom J  As long as there’s no regression, you’re moving forward and that’s progress!