It's time to step into the confession booth. I only recently confessed this to my own self. And, now, I'm confessing it to you. I'm not asking for pity. I feel it not for myself. I'm not inviting you to a party here. I'm not hosting one. I just need to say this. And, I know there are many other special needs mothers and fathers of aging youth who feel the same way.
Grief and Loss are themes here at "The Journey with Grace." They are a theme in my life. I embrace them and know that they are a part of my purpose--to live, write and speak about journeying through them and finding the joy, hope and the goodness of any life diversity. Mine just happen to be autism, divorce and once upon a time physical illness and job loss.
This journey of disAbility ebbs and flows. It especially flows at the beginning of the autism diagnosis. Years of flow. And then, it gets easier. And as time merges, the flow switches to more of an ebb. I can trace my ebbs and flows. The flows are often milestones or significant time periods within my daughter's life. Time also has gifted me with the ability to know what's going on inside of me emotionally when the faucet of emotion begins to flow around disAbility.
Well we're flowing, folks. It started with last summer. The one I chose to give The Finger. The flow now is about my daughter's growing older as I'm peering at the shortening distance to the cliff of services we are approaching. And all the while I'm alternating backpeddling swiftly and looking away and getting mad as hell about systems that fail to serve, I'm seeing something else going on around me.
I do not begrudge anyone's goodness. I celebrate it as their life experience. Yes, once upon a time I did but I got over that, fortunately, at the cusp of our journey. What I'm seeing is my friends' and my acquaintances' children headed for college while somedays, I'd just like to be able to take an extra yoga class and not have to book a sitter for $40 bucks to get out of the condo when school's already let out. I'm suddenly acutely aware that there will be no trip to the DMV for my daughter, except the one we made last year for a ID card sans the driver's liscense.
Let me say it. I have a right. It is okay for me to say it's a Bitch this growing older. Things are "supposed" to get easier. I'm "supposed" to be freer. I'm "supposed" to have more Time and more Options. And in a lot of ways, I'm getting less.*
And, I NEVER thought I'd live the way I have begun to live. And that is to limit some of my plans. When my daughter was diagnosed before three I decided that I would live life whole. And so would she. We would embrace our diversity but we would not let it stop us from living. And I haven't. We have lived rich, whole, full lives overflowing with diverse, fun experiences. I am known in as many local communities as I am in the autism/'disAbility world. In the arts. Mothering. Nonviolent Communication and the list of my Gemini-led interests continue. I have been blessed to have adequate child support and a Wuzband who has Grace three weekends a month. That is not to say that my budget does not get strained with childcare and many other demands, especially now with present circumstances.
But now, I am finding myself deciding not to go to certain art openings. To my spiritual center Sundays when she is home. I'm just tired. I'm tired of having to deal with wet seats and wet pants, turning around to find that she's freaked someone out by rushing up and sniffing their hair. Or corralling her from doing her straddle dance to whatever music's playing. I do all these things at Target. At Whole Foods. At the mall. The drugstore. Wherever we have to go, in addition to some of the additional fun places because she still needs to have a life. But, I've decided to keep some places sacred and just for me and just deal.
Deal. Yes. Deal. I know it comes down to dealing. *And all that "supposed" to language. Yeah, right. It's about dealing. Choosing. "Rocks are Hard. Water is Wet," my teacher minded me recently. Writing those "supposed to's" up there sent my internal flags waving. I've only shared this with my teacher and a few close friends. I'm writing it out all here for the first time. The flags waved to remind me that my "supposed to's" are creating unnecessary suffering. "Rocks are Hard. Water is Wet." Very Buddhist, it all. And I love that. Stop resisting. Yes it's there. No, it's not going away. I can have these feelings. I can express them. It is okay. And then I can choose not to personally identify with them. Observe them. They won't go away. What will diminish is how much I choose to suffer. (Phillip Moffitt)
And then somedays. It's easier. Than others.
Thank you, Life, for the Gift of Adversity, for you teach me Greater Wisdom, Resilience and Strength.
And, so it is.
(I wrote this post last October. Much of this angst is gone though circumstances remain somewhat the same. I'm sharing it anyway because the perspective is real and valid. I'll be sharing a follow-up post soon. The image, above, was taken with my Droid. I created spiral with minature sea shells during a play exercise during an artist's retreat at Art and Soul Studio last summer. I created the color by changing the saturation and temperature of the image in a faux photoshop program.)