Thursday, July 24, 2014

There is no "3 strikes your out" rule in parenting

It is hard to explain how hard it is to be the sibling of someone with Autism. I do my best to help my Grant get by unscathed. I know I am failing horribly. He is constantly in the midst of breakdowns, appointments, arguments over homework, and major attitude. Even though the attention Hunter gets is not always good attention, it is still attention. Some days it is an exhausting, never ending, feeling hopeless kind of attention, but it is attention nonetheless.

Yes, this thing called "Asperger's Syndrome" has robbed him of so much. It is not a thief in the night, it is a constant loss of everything important to him. It is his IPOD case that is chewed up because of sensory issues. It is not getting a book read to him because I am so exhausted I fall asleep before it happens. It is my voice being raised at him for nothing he did, just my own pent up feelings. It is him wanting to look up to his brother so badly, but knowing he can't follow his path.

I try not to think of the pain in his heart because it hurts my heart too much! I try to give him extra hugs, extra laughs, and extra time. I try to tell him how proud I am of him. I try to let him know that he is an amazing person. I know it is not enough, but it is all I have.

I love car rides with Granster. It is just me and him.  No video games are getting his attention. No army guys or Hot Wheels cars are in sight. This is my time to lay it all out on the table. Normally, car rides are my time to teach him. This week, during one of those little car rides, he taught me.

He has been attending a camp this week. He has had a great time. He has played with amazing friends. He has had tons of activities. Most importantly, he has had time away. He has had a break from the craziness in this house. God knows he needs it.

I picked him up from camp on Tuesday. It is a short ride home, so I always start the conversation early. How was your day? Did you learn anything? What was the best part/worst part of your day?

There is "3 strikes your out" rule at camp for the kiddos who are struggling with their behaviors.
 I typically don't have these problems with Granster, so I said to him jokingly, "So, how many strikes did you get today?"

Him: "None!! But some kids got strikes for not listening and running around!"

Me: "I knew you wouldn't get any. You are such a good boy and make good choices!"

Him: "Yeah, well, I try to make good choices, but sometimes I don't. You know my emotions just get to me sometimes. I get depressed...I get sad...and sometimes I don't do the right things, but usually I try make good choices."

Me (driving the car trying to hide the tears streaming down my cheeks): "Buddy, I was just joking with you! I knew you would be good today! I didn't have any doubts at all! I know it is hard sometimes, but you do the best you can!!"

For a moment, he revealed a part of himself that he doesn't feel safe to reveal most days. He let himself be vulnerable. He spoke his truth. Yes, sometimes he has outbursts. He is in pain. He doesn't make the right decisions at the right times, but he is trying!

If I was living by the "3 strikes your out" rule, I would have been kicked out of the parenting gig a long time ago. I make bad choices. I lose it sometimes. I fall asleep before reading his book. I say things I don't mean, but I am trying! I am trying with all my might to raise two great men.

I want with every fiber of my being for them to know how much I love them. I want them to know that no matter what mistakes they make, I will be here to pick them up. I know that my hugs don't always make the pain better. My words don't always fix things that are broken. All I can do is try every day, and when I fail, get up and try again. There is no "3 strikes rule". There is just me loving my kiddos, making mistakes, trying my best, losing my mind, feeling lost, hugging with all my might some days, yelling with all my might others and doing the best I can!

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