The post I wrote the other day about managing my expectations seemed to elicit a great deal of response.
And what I love most about that is each one of those thoughts or opinions had kindness at the root.
Most of you were sympathetic but not judgey. I thank you for that.
This blog is filled with my thoughts. My perceptions of my life. I’m never ever going to point a finger and decree that I’m a billion percent right and the other person is a billion percent wrong. That’s not how life works.
I know I’m difficult.
I can be a real dick when I get frustrated.
I have been known to make bad choices in how I behave or react, however the underlying stuff is real.
I want to thank you for your kindness in choosing your words when you shared your thoughts with me. Your words were sympathetic, they came from a place of knowledge of circumstance. For the most part they were not blaming, and some even shared great ideas about how to circumvent the food drama!
I appreciate the positive feedback.
That morning, I got a message from Thing 1 in our group chat saying she’d read the post and wanted to know how I was. It was right as I was getting to work. I thanked her and promised to talk later.
She texted me in the afternoon that the post concerned her and asking how I was.
I assured her I was fine then explained that I was frustrated and being a dick but didn’t feel like I was terribly wrong.
“I’m sure you are. And I’m sure you were a dick, but I still feel like Thing G shouldn’t be running the freaking show.”
We talked a great deal about how much growth there’s been.
About how most of the way he behaves isn’t really his fault. He’s adapted to it. I don’t believe there is purpose or malice in his actions. I believe he’s been insulated from being engaged in his life since his diagnosis, and simply doesn’t have the tools.
This is not to say I blame his parents. They did what they had to do to function as a family. They did what they had to do to make sure he was safe to himself and other children. Every family functions differently. And they did what worked for them.
Only now it doesn’t work.
The kid flat refuses to engage in his own life. He simply puts forth the least amount of effort to get by. Sure, that’s teenage behavior, but this is different. Most teens desire to GTFO of their parent’s house. They desire to be in control of their own choices, etc. (As adults we see the ironic hilarity, but we’ve all been there.)
This kid literally wants to eat crackers or ramen, drink soda, and play video games all day every day. My interpretation of that behavior is this is someone who is not engaged in his own life.
That’s cool if that’s your choice. And if you can find a way to eat and drink trash and play video games all day and remain solvent I say, bravo!
But I refuse to sacrifice my own comfort so that he can continue to live the life of Riley.
This kid isn’t actually the problem. The kid is simply the lightning rod of focus for the problem.
As I see it, the problem is that his family sacrificed their own personal comfort for his.
And y’all I get that! What parent or older sibling hasn’t done it!?!?
Though in most families as children age and develop that behavior changes. We expect kids to learn that we all have feelings. Needs. Things that make us comfortable or uncomfortable.
We expect them to respect these things in others.
I know I’m guilty of behaving as though the world revolves around my girls, especially Thing 2.
I own it. I know I do it. I admit I do it.
There are two huge differences.
The first is I don’t expect anyone else to do it.
The second is they’re engaged, and however they struggle, they’re actively participating in their own lives.
Every parent makes sacrifices for their children. That’s part of being a parent.
Older siblings sometimes make sacrifices for their younger siblings, that makes sense, but still doesn’t seem all that acceptable. But I’m the big sister, so I know it just sometimes is.
This becomes a problem when everyone else is expected to behave in the same manner. It’s not other people’s job to put the comfort of someone else’s child, sibling, etc. above their own. And in all honesty, I don’t believe YBW and his family ever consciously expected that behavior from others, and they certainly never verbalized it. I feel like it was and remains very obvious by the way everyone functions.
I don’t think YBW is wrong for wanting to sacrifice for his kid.
I don’t think he’s an an idiot or stupid.
And I will own the fact that I’m judgey as fuck.
Judgey. As. Fuck.
But I don’t judge him for doing what he believes is best for his son. I’ve done what I believed best for my girls, sometimes it worked perfectly, sometimes I cocked it right up.
No one else has been in our hearts, in our families, it isn’t for another to tell anyone how to raise their children.
I’m guilty of pointing out what his kids don’t know. That doesn’t mean I think he failed. It means I don’t understand why they don’t know how to do X. And instead of examining that, YBW thinks I’m saying he failed as a parent.
Dude. We all fail as parents. I just want people to bring in the mail and trash can when they walk right past it every damn day.
What bothers me so much is that he continues to put the desires of that particular kid above everyone else’s. He doesn’t even know he’s doing it. And he sacrifices so much of himself for that kid.
The difference between YBW and me is that I refuse to do it. I will not choose Thing G’s comfort or happiness over my own.
Because I don’t want to. And because it’s not what’s best for any one.
I’m choosing to do what’s best for me.
Just because I don’t like it, or I won’t do it, doesn’t mean I’m judging him for doing it. It just means I won’t make the same behavior choices he makes. My emotional and physical comfort are important in their own right. No more no less than anyone else’s.
And when I see him sacrifice his, I don’t like it because I believe he deserves more. But I can’t make that decision for him. I can only make that decision for myself.
I spent a long time talking with a friend who also has a child diagnosed with autism. Here’s what I see, in their family, it’s just a thing. It means some tweaking here and there. It means she’s (the mom) working hard to meet everyone’s individual needs. But she’s not letting that diagnosis run their lives.
In this family it is everything. And because it is everything all the tweaking must be done around the diagnosed. It means everyone should work hard to meet the diagnosed’s needs. The diagnosis runs all our lives.
This is not the fault of the kid with the diagnosis. It’s not even the fault of his parents. It is simply the way it is.
I don’t choose to function that way.
I don’t choose for my children to be expected to function that way.
I don’t choose people who enter this house to be expected to function that way.
I love my husband.
Like, in ways that sometimes have no words! I want to be with him in the life we build. And I want to get old with him.
I want him to feel loved. To feel understood. To feel like I’m in it with all I’ve got, not that he’s something I have to endure.
Right now, I think the best way to do that is to be quiet. Just be quiet and do my thing. Just be quiet and let him do his thing. Because clearly talking about it makes me a dick and him a failure.
I want to stop putting each of us through that.
Only this is a conversation worth having, and because we’re in it for the long haul, we have to figure it out how to have it successfully. Last night we talked a little and seemed to get to a place that’s better. So good for us!
I will be the first to admit I want what I want.
But not at the expense of others.
And that is the little nugget of truth I cling to.
Therefore, it seems just that I expect the same from others.
I choose not to live my life for anyone but me.
I believe YBW judges me for it.
I accept that.
I am not ashamed.
I feel no guilt.
I did the hard work of raising my children. I do the hard work of being the mother of adult women.
I did and continue to do the hard work of keeping myself safe and sane.
I do the hard work of marriage to a man I love all the way to Pluto and back.
I’m doing the best I can to live my intention.
Paul wrote to the Corinthians: Do everything in love.
I’m over here working to do everything in love and still have a sense of self.
I own my truth.
I don’t give a fuck who judges me.