“Parents don’t make mistakes because they don’t care, but because they care so deeply.” – Berry Brazelton
As a parent of a young woman on the autism spectrum, I’m realizing there’s a fine line between accommodating and crippling Morgan. I am forever tripping over that line. The Judgers only trip me more. The Getters keep me trying.
You see, there are two Morgans. The one I see at home is confident and assured, able to express her wants and needs most of the time, able to create, and even crack a dry joke.
Then there is the Morgan out in public. The one that tears at my heart, because she’s so anxious about “Too Many Friends”, uncomfortable places, not enough schedule, too much schedule,… She has two reactions to the stress of public gatherings. One is to loudly announce her discontent to everyone, and the other is to completely shut down.
A while back, Morgan participated in an exhibition basketball game. Things were just a little noisy and chaotic. She squeezed her eyes shut, and lowered her head to disappear. I watched from a distance as peers passed her by, moving on to others who met them with smiles. Morgan’s self isolation continues to cost her so many opportunities. Whenever this happens, everything in me wants to jump in and rescue her (and I have on several occasions), but I realize there’s going to be a time when I’m no longer able to be that link of understanding between her and the world. In order to make it out there, she will have to somehow find it within herself to reach back to those who reach out to her. Daily prayers go up for her social graces, and others’ understanding.
Thankfully, we had a successful event recently, which gave me a little renewed hope. Morgan was asked to pass out programs for a community gathering with Borderless Arts Tennessee. She was given an active roll, and rose to the occasion. She also sat along side friends to do a little creative activity. Later, when she announced she was “Tired and All Done”, friends gave a knowing smile. Morgan was asked to help present a couple of awards, and continued to hang with a little encouragement. She even managed a smile for the camera, in the middle of her protests. 😉
I. Just. LOVE. the Getters, those who truly understand, and I’m most thankful for the Knowers, like Dr. Temple Grandin, Emelyne Bingham, and other amazing women on the spectrum for reminding me to continue to challenge Morgan.
In my parenting experience, I’ve had many proud moments, and some very humbling ones. When our children are flying high, we can be tempted to pat ourselves on the back, thinking we’ve got it all together. In those times of pride, shame on me if I’m ever a Judger of another parent, who’s loving their child the best way they know how. “But for the grace…”
Until Next Time,
Know The Hope!