Good Parenting Means Saying Goodbye To Your Pride
If I had any tidbits of pride left, I can assure you that our most recent speech and occupational therapy evaluations have completely eradicated those remnants of pride. Yep, my pride has been disintegrating over the last year and now it has officially flown the coop.
I never knew I hated the word “typical” so much. Typical. I never thought to take offense to a word that I have thrown around with the best of them. That was before it applied to us or him, my Amos, who evidently is far from typical. It’s not like it was a shock but never has his status been so blatantly just put out there and I was helpless to defend the accusations that were unfortunately far from false. No, they were spot on and with them came the overwhelming realization of the extent of Amos’ issues. As the barrage of terms flowed in my guarded mind, my pride moved out as quickly as the fog when confronted with bright sun.
I had dutifully filled out the detailed questionnaire provided by the phenomenal Occupational Therapist and was pleasantly surprised to find that I could answer positively or at least a “yes” to a few of them. I should have known; I will never make that mistake again. One question asked if my child had an attention span longer than two minutes. Yes! Another asked if my child could sit for five or more minutes and complete an activity upon request. Yes! Yes! And then one asked if my child enjoyed coloring with crayons. Yes! Yes! Yes! Ohhh, poor me. My mother had always espoused that pride cometh before a fall but I was duped like never before.
Far from typical is a two year old that chooses to sit and color over exploring a room with swings, balls, big ramps, and even a foam pit. Far from typical is a two year old that pays no attention to the therapist in the room with us for two hours, not even a weary glance. Far from typical is a two year old that will play an activity quietly for time on end. Different from typical, far from typical, not at all typical. I never knew there were so many ways to tell me Amos was his own ball game and suddenly I had lost my job as the elite umpire. In an instant, I was a spectator with bad seats and Amos was playing and losing badly; I could not keep him in the Minor Leagues forever. The jig was up and the truth about typical was being directed at me repeatedly and in a myriad of ways and I had no where to run.
Pride is a dangerous emotion particularly when it applies to one’s children. It starts small and you attribute some good personality traits as indicators of good parenting and so, it begins and for me, went on nearly ten years. I’m left now with nothing left to lose. I have a son that will spend his three year old year not home with me but in a special needs classroom, a son that will need his blanket for comfort where ever he goes, and a son who can’t play well with his peers because they are light years ahead. My pride is a thing of the past and what is best for him is a thing of the future. I wish I had know this secret long ago, back in the days of passive silent mom judging that I allowed to skirt my unhumbled brain. If only we knew then what we learn from hindsight today. Such a beautiful thought humbles me and I think to myself, I have learned the secret of life.
I think good parenting means never ever saying never. I think good parenting means embracing that label you never wanted to have because it means your child will be different but ultimately benefit. I think good parenting means filling the prescription for medication that you never agreed with giving. I think good parenting means letting go of phrases like “we always” because always may not be the best. I think good parenting means visiting the special needs classroom enough times so that you don’t bawl each time you walk out the door. I think good parenting means not harboring bitterness when people around you just don’t have a clue. I think good parenting means standing up for your child and yourself and saying that you don’t agree and that you want a second or third or fourth opinion. I think good parenting is giving yourself a break too. We give it our all and sometimes or perhaps always, our actions have little to do with the beautiful people we call our own.