Friday, May 28, 2010

Everyday Parental Epiphanies

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

~Max Ehrmann's Desiderata

I first came across this humble bit of prose on the occasion of my graduation from university. My mom gave me this beautiful card with this piece of wisdom as an Illuminated Illustration. I've found it to be endlessly comforting and meaningful. I think I've quoted it to myself during times of stress more than anything, even Shakespeare.

I bring it up because I've found myself to be under a bit of stress and upset over the past few days. I find myself watching the boys, carefully studying their behavior for signs of change, and I tend to get upset when I don't see as much progress as I want.

We are smack in the middle of our 40 HBOT treatments for the boys, so I feel like I should be seeing some things, and we are, but probably not as much as I would like. The truth of the matter is, I believe that their autism wasn't caused by any one thing. So it makes sense to me that no ONE THING is going to be the defining moment of change for them. It's many things, including but not limited to experience.

This is a Marathon, and not a sprint.

And, as I've also quoted to myself (and others) probably hundreds of times in the past 8 years or so--"The point of parenting is not to raise perfect children."

There is no race to be won.

There is no prize to earn when your child reaches the age of consent, or graduates from high school or college.

There is no one watching and grading you as you go along...well except for maybe your In-laws (but that's another post for another day...).

The only persons whose happiness you can influence, and should therefore worry about, are yours and your children's.

And when I truly realize this and digest it, I feel a weight lifted off my shoulders. Hey, as long as we are happy and enjoying the ride, what does it matter if my kid is a little (okay, a lot) quirky? What does it matter if he enjoys spinning and lining up his toys and laying in the grass, staring up at the clouds, instead of playing with the kids around him?

It doesn't.

And there really is so much freedom and relief in that realization.

But it doesn't last, that epiphany of relief and release. After a while, my expectations and desires creep back up again, kind of like a vine that has to be pruned back under control after a rainy month. It's me and my expectations that are the problem.

My kiddos are just fine, being who they are. It's their parent that has the problem.


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