~"Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away."~
This post deals with mortality- just giving fair warning.
In a few short months, Oscar will be thirteen. Something that he likes to remind me about whenever he wants to DO something..like watch R rated movies or walk in to town by himself. It is also something he conveniently forgets when I ask him to DO something like homework..or clean his room. It has been nine years since I posted that comment..nine years and still that little snippet of blog conversation lives a full life in the back of my brain...occasionally worming its way to the bright lights and center stage of my thoughts. Nine years later and I realize that the woman who I thought was bitter-was probably in reality-just really scared. I can recognize that now that (some of) my kids are on the verge of young adulthood-I can understand it too.
We have tried to raise all of our kids to be confident in who they are. Teaching them that being kind and decent were the most important things. Stimming, eeeeing...pacing and muttering were just some of the things that made them-them. That being different was fine-great even..wonderful...spectacular! So they thrive and they grow..because they believe me. Because I am their mother..their mom..their mama..they trust me. Me. And on those nights when I recall that long ago conversation...when I allow myself a moment to be scared,,I wonder...have I raised them to live in how I think that the world should be instead of how the world really is? This is something I wrestle with. Sometimes I feel guilty-like I am setting them up to be terribly disappointed..yet at other times I think that building their confidence, their sense of self will give them armor to get through anything.
Anyone who has ever had the dubious pleasure of attending an IEP meeting with me has (more often than not) heard me say-quite clearly "I have to die some day.".(Mortality-the enemy of parents everywhere!) I don't say this for its shock value-I say it because it is the truth. Because if my kids don't get what they need now-how are they going to get by later-when I am no longer there? Yes, I worry about not being there.
I try very hard not to let my fears guide me. I admit, there is a part of me that wants to encourage them all to stay together at home(forever)...where it's "safe" and they can protect each other from the world as it is. But that wouldn't be fair-because it wouldn't be THEIR decision-THEIR choice..not really. It wouldn't be honest-because I have raised them to be who they are..regardless of how the world outside our home is. We have raised them with the fierce conviction that they have a rightful place in this world-a conviction that I believe with my entirety. Encouraging them to hide who they are would be a contradiction. It would make what I have taught them a lie..acceptance with strings attached. I can't do that....won't.
Way back in high school, a friend once said to me "If we you want to change how men view women in the world-raise your sons." Yet another one of those snippets of conversation that has stayed with me-especially when I look out at the world that is outside of our home..Nine years later and Oscar is still flapping and eeeing...and he is still as charming as he was at four. Maybe I can't change the world..but I can raise my children...raise them...raise them up..and hope...and hope and hope that in some way..anyway..even if it is in a small way...the world will raise with them...