Friday, May 4, 2012

self-affirming influences

"In ideal circumstances, self-affirming influences move silently in the lives of children, wrapping each successive generation in the security that comes from being loved, accepted, and understood." 
                                                 ----Lieberman, Padron, Van Horn & Harris (2005)


His anxiety is palpable.  
Wearing it like a weighted vest, it tugs away at his seams, 
burdening his typically lithe step.  
Like a shadow, it follows him, 
marring his day, 
burning his throat as the tears well up in and then pour from his big brown eyes.

This has become his norm.

Heart-wrenchingly painful to watch,
My beautiful big boy suffers as he mitigates the seemingly never-ending path of the "new kid." 
A bit left of socially awkward, 
a bit right of timid, and dead-center highly intelligent, 
vulnerable to the bullies of the world.  
Latent insecurity skews his perception so obtusely, 
that even the most innocent of remarks cuts deep to the quick.  
Reality lays between self-deprecating perception and blatant ill-will.

This has become his norm.

We wrap him tightly, my husband and I,
In our self-affirming influence.
Loving him, holding him, lifting him up, 
as his world stumbles, crumbles at his feet.
Holding a candle up to his bright, bright light.
"You are, you can, you will," we whisper to him.
Weaving a tapestry of words around him, 
inciting his spirit, his energy, his boyish sentimentality of slugs and worms and snails.
Inspiring him to dig deep, to believe in himself, to use his mind, to rise, 
And so, we bask in his glow, as he learns, and shapes, and feels,
The loving arms around him,
radiating acceptance and love. 

This has become his norm.

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Aimee is an educator, wife, and the mother of 3 incredible children.  Sole (11) is a talkative, caring, budding adolescent and advocate.  Micah (8) is a sensitive, quirky naturalist.  Jonas (4) is the beautiful cherub: snugly, funny, and wonderfully intelligent.  Jonas also has autism.   When Aimee is not writing here, she can be found at her blog Red Shoes, Autism Blues, where she documents her family's roller coaster journey with autism.