Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Joys of Parenting...

Things never cease to surprise me.

As I'm sitting here trying to get caught up on some things, job searching, laundry and watching Parenthood on Netflix.

They just had the scene where a child "Max", who has Aspergers and frightened of all things fire, demands to go out trick or treating. The parents argue back and forth, over every minute detail, knowing that he's never been able to do anything like this before - or seemingly even come close. They tried to manipulate all the different variables they could to make sure their son was not scared, and could have a successful outing. They bickered, took precautions and manipulated before and during the events. The anxiety levels were clearly high as they tried to preempt and anticipate all known and unknown variables. 

There was one BIG Haunted house that they'd agreed to stay away from. But all the little cousins wanted to go to that house. Max said he could do it too. The parents said no. They gave all the different reason why this was a bad idea. They were scared of ruining it for him. Scared of allowing him into a situation he would have no opportunity for success. 

I know that feeling. Oh how I have lived that. When it's hard. When life gives you an unregulated season. You try so hard to do what ever you can to make it just a tad bit easier on your kid. To make sure you aren't putting him in a situation that he can 'fail' at, because then things just spiral out of control. It isn't failing. It's the fall out from being afraid, and the oh so very very very fragile confidence meter that gets smashed and effects his every movement throughout the days to follow.

So we do our best, to make sure they are in a situation that there is little opportunity for failure. Little opportunity for triggers. Little opportunity for unknown variables. We stay in the safe. The known.

Max went to the house, came running down the stairs screaming in excitement for his Mom and Dad- to show him the goodies they gave him. Clearly surprised and happy- the parents embraced him.

I broke down in tears. I broke down with my lip splitting open from the smile on my face. So happy for this fictional character, known as Max.

Every day is a Surprise around here. Everyday, even the hard ones, he does things, that I'm reminded, I thought he'd never be able to do. He functions at levels so high, I thought he'd be a teenager before he got do do some of the things he does.

It is hard. Hard. Hard. To stand back. Let him explore. Let him have space. Let the variables intrude. Let the unknown and opportunities for 'failure' surround him.

It us unimaginably breathtakingly beautiful, so see him manuever and find his way through all the obstacles and 'succeed'. New things. You can literally seen that confidence meter as it grows and gets less fragile with every success. With every decision he makes on his own. With space to run and explore. With the spiral that brings him down, passed right by. My son is amazing. And he works so hard at every new experience. He works hard at making good choices. And he never fails to recognize the moment. God is good.

*I say all of this knowing that, part of that growing confidence also means that his inhibition wanes in many areas. That may mean that he gets out of bed far earlier than me and gets a snack, reads a book, turns on the tv and picks up the phone to call someone to ask them to pick him up after school... at 7am. I'm sure my retired, sleep late parents loved that. As much as I had to tell him that was not ok... I was really happy that he COULD WOULD do it. He is amazing.


one + one said...

i LOVE this post. (and that show)

Annie said...

You are an awesome Mom. He sees you and learns from you. He is such a great kid. I am also impressed at how often you blog! ;). I can't seem to get on the ball.

Paula said...

Wow... I've never seen Parenthood (I don't see much TV that isn't on the Disney Channel) but that plotline is eerily similar to our first Halloween with the twins. I was so stressed out about everything that could go wrong, but it turned out okay. It's so great to see the littles growing more independent and less fearful... and a little scary for mom too! So glad to see Teg blossoming. What an awesome little guy!