I was driving home from the market yesterday, blessedly alone...When the song "Y.M.C.A." by the Village People came on the radio. It made me think of my mother. I had always found it funny that she, a devout catholic had liked that song. I think that she actually believed it was a catchy tune about the benefits of staying at the "Y"-which it was-though not quite in the way she thought....I find it odd, my mom has been dead for almost half of my life-and yet I am still so aware of her influence on me.. Mothers are powerful people. As I look at my herd, I wonder, how much of what I say and do will affect them. I wonder, what it is about me, that they will carry forward with them into adulthood? I hope it's my sense of humor.
Lately, two of my herd have been overly interested in death. Oscar in particular. He is having trouble understanding the concept-and as it was mothers day, he wanted to know what had happened to mine.
Oscar-"Where's your mom?"
Me-"She died a long time ago"
Oscar-"Where did she die?"
Me-"Where? do you mean how?"
Oscar-"Did she leave?"
Me-"her body didn't work anymore-it was very sick...so it stopped"
Oscar-"SICK??? will she get better"
Me-"No honey, she's done with her body"
Oscar-"DONE!!! Where did she go?"
Me-"...I don't know...are you worried about me leaving?"
Oscar-"No, your mom is dead... can I have a snack?"
Me-"Are you sure you're not worried?"
I'm not going to stress myself out too much about it. Death IS a hard concept to explain. I am though, quite amused by all of the "death scenes" that both Oscar and Zoe have been staging. I'll just happen to be walking through the living room, and there will be Oscar, lying on his back-hands folded over his chest and his eyes closed. "What are you doing bud?... "just being dead""O.K. have fun-dinner is in fifteen minutes"...O.K. mama." With Zoe, it's a little bit different. "Zoe, I need for you to go find your juice cup" She will then throw herself on the floor and say "Zoe isn't here-she's dead"..."O.K., when you are done being dead, go and find your juice cup please."
It would be so much easier if kids came with there own instruction books. There are days when I think that I am doing a decent job raising my herd-and then there are days where I doubt everything. If there were such thing as a "mother report card", I think that I would do o.k.- a couple of "A's",mostly "B's". Although, I know that in the comment section it would state "doesn't play well with the other mothers" I don't know what it is-my methods, my ideas...my humor-it just seems to put some mothers off. Especially, when I talk about autism.
Autism is a big part of our lives, but it is not our whole life. Yes, there are certain things that we have to do in order for our boys to feel safe and comfortable . There are routines that we follow-steps that we take to create the best possible atmosphere for them to learn and grow. The rest of the time...I just let them be. I don't worry that they only eat about five different things-because for the most part, those five things are healthy. I don't structure their play time-I don't fill every moment of their day with activities. They may be on the spectrum-but they are kids first and foremost. They need to play, ride their bikes, dig holes in the dirt, invent their own games-and if they need to flap and stim at the same time-so be it! They are learning what is and what is not appropriate through that freedom.. The world is always changing, and they have to figure out how to bend with it-or at least wiggle a little. I am not always going to be around to guide them. Part of my job is teaching them how to guide themselves. My methods might be different, but it doesn't make them wrong. ( my goodness! the reactions I got when I told some parents that I had (with permission) flapped and eeeed alongside my son-I wanted to know what it felt like-to better understand.)
I have four very unique and amazing children. I am so proud of all of them. I look at my boys and see such growth-especially in the wake of the grim prognosis we had been given for them. I have such joy...and much hope. My wish is for them to look back one day and recognize that they have always been cherished and loved-thoroughly and unconditionally. Having a sense of humor wouldn't be bad either.