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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Life is messy

I am a perfectionist.  I have been that way since I was a very young child. My nature has always been to try my best at everything and never fail.  Failure has never been an option. Then, my autistic son came along and I discovered that "life is messy" and there is no such thing as true perfectionism.

Hunter is exhausting in ways I never thought possible.  He will beg for lasagna, but when I make it, it is too cheesy.  He will procrastinate homework but blame me when he has to spend his entire evening catching up.  He will lie to me or do something wrong but blame me for his punishment.  If he gets bad grades, it is the teacher's fault.  If he fails to get a basket in a game, it is the other team's fault.  The blame game is never ending.

When things are tough, people often say, "God never gives you more than you can handle." My canned response has always been, "Well, I think he has severely overestimated my capabilities."  I have criticized myself over and over at the failure I am as Hunter's mother.  Many days he makes me feel like I am an inadequate mother by his actions.  I have listened to others criticize our discipline of him, or try to give advice as to how to better parent him.  I have involuntarily put blame on myself and allowed others to put it on me.  I have worried about the judgment and criticism because I felt like it only shed light on my failure at motherhood.

Seven years into his diagnosis, I have come to the realization that maybe God didn't overestimate my capabilities at all.  Maybe he gave me Hunter as a learning tool. Maybe Hunter is my wake up call to just let some things go.  Things in life aren't going to be perfect. Not everyone is going to understand or agree with our parenting decisions.  I am not going to maneuver parenting a child on the spectrum (or off the spectrum) without failure.  I am going to lose it some days.  I am going to make colossal mistakes. I am going to get up the next day, brush off my boots, and give it another try!

The lessons of life tend to be learned by our failures. With each failure we climb a little higher on our ladder to understanding ourselves and each other.  I have a long way to go on that ladder, but now I look forward to the climb. It's always fun to see where it will take you!