Friday, April 9, 2010
What came first? The chicken or the egg?
Age old question. I ask it because I am a bonafide chicken these days. A nervous nelly of the highest order. When did that happen? This mother hen is living on her nerves and not loving it today.
My son is going on a camp with his occupational therapy clinic next week and I am a ball of anxiety over it, living in terror that it will be a disaster! Why? Things have been going pretty well around here and J amazes me every single time we face a challenge so what is with this knot in my stomach?
I know he will be cared for by highly trained and trusted professionals who are familiar to both him and me. I know he will enjoy many of the activities and I know the independence it is aimed to foster within him is the whole aim of the experience and what we are striving for for J's future but still, I'm torn up with these nerves.
Why can't I see the forest for the trees? Or can I? My judgement was questioned yesterday on an unrelated matter to this one suggesting my perspective is clouded by ASD. Maybe it is. Isn't everyone's perspective shaped by their own experience though? Maybe my perspective is totally clear particularly with regards to my instincts and how I see my children because of the shoes I've walked in and those who have not walked in them have a different perspective because whilst I'm in a pair of sturdy but scuffed sensible flat shoes with a few holes in the soles (or maybe even holes in the souls too), others are in shoes I'll never wear again like stillettos or platforms so the view is different?
I worry constantly about my boys futures (no big secret revelation there... You've all gathered that by now). I cautiously consider every opportunity for them and make the decision after hours, days and months of angst ridden soul searching and exploring every possible outcome (which is not always comforting). I see my boys through the eyes of a parent who knows their foibles, their strengths and their difficulties including ASD so I guess I am looking through a fog in some ways but then others may argue the way I see them is with a clarity that those with no experience of ASD would never have. I wonder if the way I parent is because of Autism or if I would have been this cautious, clouded, careful, colloquial, calamity conscious, confused BUT sometimes calm and clear regardless of the child or diagnosis?
I wonder if I parent this way BECAUSE of Autism or if I would have been crippled with self doubt, questioning of my instincts about big changes and choices for my kids regardless of their neurological make up?
Well....... Who knows? Not me. I'll never know because when it comes down to it my journey is this exact one I step into each and every day. I put my sensible scuffed flats on and I take one step at a time and put one foot in front of the other.
Those shoes help me step over the many bumps in the road I walk through each day and they help buffer the shock of the unexpected forks in the road I walk upon to get me and the boys to our destination... Is the destination totally influenced by ASD? Probably.
How could it be otherwise? That's our life. It's not an unhappy life, it's a sometimes hard life but isn't every life sometimes hard? It's a wild old ride and a pretty crazy and noisy life I wouldn't trade though. With this life comes extra worries about the independence of my chicks and their future prospects when they leave the nest of wild but supported comfort here in the nest.....
The camp is still at the forefront of my ever ticking over and worry filled mind and with good reason. This is my baby. Yes I know he's growing up and I know he's in good hands but this is MY baby. The same little guy I've never even let go on a playdate without me. The same little man who has never had a sleep over at Nannie's house because of his intense need for rigid routine (not mine, frankly I would have loved the odd night off other parents get but understand how hard it is for my boys so don't push it).
However, I am about to drive up to a driveway at a camp especially devised to cater to his sensory needs and I am about to drop him off to spend five hours each day next week with professionals who do in fact know and I suspect love him. They don't love him in the same heart breaking and aching way his mummy loves him but they do love him. Every one of these amazing ladies who work at the clinic putting the camp on have embraced my family and laughed, cried and encouraged my boys along in their journeys so why am I still terrified to wave goodbye in that driveway and wish him a happy day of activities each day at camp......?
Why is it so hard to be tough and NOT be a chicken? I think it really is a case of life experience influencing parenting style. Ask anyone. I was one crazy, fly by the seat of my pants kinda gal BEFORE Autism. Now? It's all changed and I live by schedules, routines, ASD techniques and making my boys as comfortable and anxiety free as possible.
What is the cost? Thier anxiety is lowered. Mine is heightened. I will take it.. Happy to bear it a million times over if means I could take theirs away totally. I doubt that will happen though. Instead we just live with our individual levels of anxiety the best we can and occasionally they come to the surface like this week with the impending camp adventure.
Maybe I should ask not what came first when referring to the chicken and the egg but instead the Autism or the anxiety?
Either way, we have one anxious, chicken worried sick about her Autism angel for next week's adventures. I'll let you know how it goes. Hopefully this chicken is clucking happily away about how well it went and maybe just maybe I'll be able to report of a graduating rooster crowing about how much independence the old mother hen allowed him to acheive by sitting in her nest after casting him out for the first time and nervously picking at her feathers in silent encouragement.....
I wish my little chick all the best and nervously send him out to find his own wings next week at camp.
May you spread your wings and fly my baby. Fly as only you can. Soar to the heights I know you can reach! I love you and ache for your success. Not for me. For you. Cluck cluck.