Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Lessons from the day

On our way to Hunter's school yesterday morning, Hunter looked over at me, with sincerity and seriousness in his eyes, and said, "Mom, I am really nervous about today. Today is the new semester and I have new classes, and teachers, and new kids in the classes. You know I don't do well with change! What if I don't know anybody in any of my classes? What if they are hard?" My heart started breaking.

With our crazy Christmas break (more to come later) and trying to get back into the swing of things, it just hadn't registered yet. I usually gear up for these transitions. I usually try to prepare him. I usually try to prepare myself, but it had totally escaped me. The mommy guilt kicked in. All I knew to say was, "Sweetie, it will be fine. Things are always worse than they seem." All I could think was, "What a stupid, cliché answer!!!" Honestly, I just didn't know what to say. The truth is, just like all of us, he had to face his fears. For him, though, this is so much to take in. New faces, new subjects, new classrooms...change, change, change...for a person with autism, this is sensory overload. What could ever be the right answer for him?

I picked him up from school at the end of the day, and he told me they had had an assembly at school on bullying. He thought it was interesting. He looked at me and said, "You would have cried today. This dad was talking about his son committing suicide after he was bullied. It was so sad." I asked, "Did you cry?" I waited for a second, assuming the response was going to be a resounding "heck no I did not cry", but instead he looked down and said, "Yeah, I cried. It was hard to see the dad cry. You know, he was out of town when it happened, so he feels really bad!" Uggg...right to the heart. As a parent, those words are hard to hear. Spoken from your child, it just hits home even more. More than anything though, I was touched by his answers. I was astounded at the thought he had put into this poor father's speech.

When I asked him how the new classes were, he told me how many kids he knew in his classes. He told me about the new projects in his computer classes he was excited about. He was smiling and laughing as he talked about it. I guess my answer was right after all. "Things are always worse than they seem!!"

I try to learn a lesson from every day I am on earth. Yep, every day I look at my life and think, "What did life teach me today?"

The answers from yesterday:

Lesson # 1: No matter how old he gets, he still needs his mom. He might act like he doesn't, but he does!! He needs me to reassure him that everything will be ok, no matter how cliché my answer may be. He needs to know that no matter what life throws at him, no matter how hard the transition, I'm here. Tomorrow, he will be too big to need his Mom. That is what he will want me to believe, but I will resort back to Lesson #1

Lesson #2: My son with Aspergers syndrome has empathy. He has amazing, heartfelt empathy!!!! I was pretty sure he did, but the teenage years have put serious doubt into this theory. (I'm sure all of you parents with teenagers have empathy for me!!)

Lesson #3: I already knew this one, but I learned again today...this parenting gig his hard!! There are no right answers. There is just doing the best you can and hoping that your best is good enough.