Today there is light. It is warm and encouraging. It tells me that for today, everything is okay.
I’ve been struggling with homeschooling lately. Struggling with pretty much everything in fact. I feel lost, unmotivated, bored, confused. I’m confused about how to get a relationship with my son back. The son* reminds me that it never left. It’s there. It’s just covered with darkness, shadowed by my uncertainty. My uncertainty and lack of trust makes things tight, tense, hard to move in.
*Freudian slip here – I wrote son instead of “sun”. Hmmmmm.
But the sunshine today softens the tightness, loosens its grip on me just a little. The warmth untethers my muscles from their death grip on my bones. A little space seeps into my ribcage and my hips.
I’m writing again. Make that – today I am writing. Every season of writing seems to be spurred by a different purpose. The purpose of this particular season of writing seems to be healing and a need for meaning.
We focus so much on our children’s healing. There are a million therapies and treatments for children with autism. We go the extra mile, we put in the hours and the cash, we totally DO THIS. In some ways this is wonderful (my opinion here depends on what therapy is being done, in what way and at what impact to the quality of life of the child and the family). In other ways, I think the focus on them instead of us is misguided. Both parents and kids are in need of healing.
Where is the healing for us as parents? The deep work that wants to happen in response to our having a different child (and if you truthfully don’t feel your child is different then you may be one of the lucky ones that is already healed!). Where are the guides and supports that walk us through deep acceptance of ourselves and our kids, that help us find peace in the midst of chaos. Where are the millions of therapies and processes that support is in remembering our strength and power to change what we can and accept and love what we cannot. (They are coming, I have already been blessed to work with two that are on some part of this path of supporting parents, see them here and here).
Maybe the question should be turned on its head, why is that as parents we assume it is primarily our child in need of healing? And even if we believe we are also in need of healing, why is it that my default reaction when things are going badly is that my child needs fixing, that I haven’t done enough to help him?
I feel the weight of the responsibility to offer my child the best life possible. I feel confused about whose responsibility it is for what parts of my son’s development (think mine, God’s or his own). That weight and confusion both inspires me to do better and shuts me down.
Today’s balm to the wounds inflicted by this weight of responsibility is the sunshine. Warming me, brightening the world around me and not asking anything of me in return. For the sun (and my son?), it is simply enough that I receive the light.