Friday, November 9, 2012

Round and Round and Round We Go

I am a hopeful parent of two beautiful children.
I know exactly how lucky I am.
My son has autism and my daughter is a handful, and I tell this to people who ask me to describe them not because I’m a whiner or not hopeful or ungrateful, but because I like to own my story.
I am also a hopeful parent to myself, because I’ve never stopped trying to raise and nurture the complicated kid within myself, the one who wanted to control uncontrollable parents, who wanted to fix the problems in the world, who wanted everyone to like her. This is my real problem child, more than a handful, developmentally in a kerfuffle and if I could figure out how to deal with that I’d be pretty proud of myself, but it’s that inner child who most challenges my hope -- after all, I’ve been at this for about four decades.
My great struggle in life is to remember that all the members of my family have different kinds of needs, and that’s okay.
The other day a very nice person invited my family to participate in an event, and I am sure that my response lacked grace, made it seem like I don’t appreciate my life; I have been thinking ever since why it is that I often end up in situations like that when I try to explain why we can’t, or won’t, or just don’t do things the way most families do. I end up trying to explain that, well, my son has autism and my daughter, well, she is kind of a handful, and then they usually tell me: Kids are kids, all kids are handfuls. What I hear is, “Why don’t you just do like I do? Don’t you know your children are beautiful? Don’t you know you are lucky? Are you a whiner?” Then the little kid in me feels defensive, wants to please everyone, wants to control the universe, and I end up saying something even less helpful, and the spiral ensues.

Then I come home and dwell about it.

And write blog posts.

And so here we are.

Why can’t we do that event that so many other families can do? Well, it’s probably that deeply flawed little kid within me who is most to blame, if you want to know the real truth. And if that is too much information for you, then you should know: my son has autism, and my daughter is a handful, and we can’t/won’t/don’t want to try to be like everyone else, but I’m still a hopeful parent, and a very lucky one at that.

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Rooster's Mom is a parent, educator, wife, mom, and writer. She blogs at