autism, caregivers, Morgan, Uncategorized

Social Graces and Hidden Disabilities

“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!

Tammy

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autism, faith, family, Morgan, Uncategorized

ParENTchuting

Definition of parachuting – 1. dropping from an aircraft by parachute  2. being appointed in an emergency, or from outside the existing hierarchy

Recently, I had the opportunity to do a tandem jump to celebrate my 60th birthday.  To answer a few of the questions I’ve been asked;

“What’s it like?” – It’s a lot like being a parent.  “How does it feel?” – It’s incredibly exhilarating, and a little nauseating, when you’re in a spin.  “Would you do it again?”…

YES, ABSOLUTELY.  🙂

DCIM100GOPROG0048558. Link to Mom Skydiving

LABOR – Harnessing up.  Tightening the harness, while the airplane is in a steep ascent to 14,000 feet.  Experts are giving instructions.  I’m hearing – “Wonk, Wonk, Wonk”, while taking deep breaths.

BIRTH – Tumbling out of the plane, into a freefall, realizing I have no idea how to do this.  I can’t breathe.  SCREAM.  That’s better.  Finding my focal point – the photographer.  Yay! I’m not out here alone.  Others have done this.  It must be doable.

CRADLING – My favorite part.  When the chute opens, all of a sudden, complete quiet.  I’m looking down at this beautiful creation.  I’m still not sure how, or where, we’re going to land, but I remember I’m in tandem with The One who does know.  He has given me the measure of faith I need to do this.

PARENTING – The instructor let me steer, with him at first, and then on my own, with his direction.  A hard downward pull with one hand would put us in a dizzying spiral.  A more gentle pull would turn us slowly, allowing us to enjoy viewing more of the landscape.  After all these years of parenting, there are days when I’m floating, thinking I’ve got this.  Still, there are others, when I’m in that dizzying spiral.  On those days, I whisper a prayer that allows me to let go of the ropes, passing them back to the Master.  Together, we’ve got this.

When it comes to parenting, or any other adventure, I do believe we are each given what we need, to be as brave as we need to be.  So thankful God appointed Rudy and I to care for Allison and Morgan, two sweet little pieces of His creation.  So far, they’ve been quite a ride!

Until Next Time,

Know The Hope!

Tammy

 

 

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