I shall never complain again.
You know how people sometimes say something about our wiggly or distractible kids and they are waaaaaaay off base, so much so that it’s almost humorous?
Such things no longer bring defensiveness from me.
Usually I just nod, and give them a knowing smile.
Like the day one of my son’s teacher’s said to me, “Oh I don’t believe he’s ADHD. He couldn’t be. Why…he has said things in my class that are truly insightful and intelligent.”
Or how about, “Is it really ADHD? Or is it Sin?”
<knowing smile> plus maybe a few gracious words intended to educate.
But let’s talk about THE BIG GUILT—those comments that are intended to suggest that our child is the way he or she is because of something we’ve done…some bad parenting choice we’ve made.
Maybe we had a stressful moment during pregnancy.
Or we serve them too much red dye.
Maybe if we were more attentive to the mold around our house,
Or if we had just used what little sense we had to drag our TV to the city dump.
Every one is looking for a reason, and often those reasons sound much like blame.
Well…I have now heard the biggest mommy guilt excuse of them all.
I was watching a show about Dr. Temple Grandin. She is a fascinating autistic individual who has taken her unique perspective through autism and created an amazing career. Because she has perceptive insights into the way animals think and behave, she has become a highly sought after advisor and designer in the cattle industry to design more humane environments, particularly those at slaughter houses. At cattle conferences, she has an almost “Rock star” presence. And yet she is so very clearly autistic. If you’d like to learn more about this fascinating woman, check out her site at www.templegrandin.com
But on to the GUILT.
This show presented a bit of the history on autism. At one point the primary beliefs (in the 1950’s and 1960’s) about autism came from two men named Kanner and Bettleheim. One of them had noted that people in concentration camps became withdrawn as a result of their poor and extreme treatment. Their behavior patterns looked remarkably similar to those seen in autism. THUS…the conclusion….are you ready for this???
The mothers of autistic children must secretly wish that their children were dead. (like S.S. guards)
This naturally generated horrid fear in the child who would then withdraw. (like concentration camp prisoners)
When autism was diagnosed during this time period, the first action taken was to get the mother into therapy and ask her why she wanted her child dead.
Can you IMAGINE how horrible this must have been for these mothers?
Their beloved children were already pulling away from them emotionally.
They were losing connection with this child, whom they loved more than life itself.
And now, they were told that THEY themselves were the cause.
It must have taken their breath away.
There was even a phrase that became very popular.
Mothers of autistic children were called “Refrigerator Moms” to denote their total lack of warmth and love for their child.
Lord save us from those who want to save us.
Any way, I just wanted to go on record as saying…
I KNOW that you adore your Sizzler.
I KNOW that you struggle with the challenges they present and yet still delight in the uniqueness they bring…
all the while, Loving your child.
I KNOW that some days it’s hard to see the gift, and other days it springs forth festively wrapped and sporting a huge polka-dotted bow.
And all the while, you love your child.
I KNOW that if taking the blame would provide an answer to the hardship this child faces, that you would take the blame, even unjustly, just to give him a chance at a solution.
And all the while, loving your child.
If ever anyone tries to make you feel guilty for the difficulties your Sizzler faces,
I’m here to say…I’m truly sorry that you’re enduring such an injustice.
But I also want you to know and believe that your love for this child is part of what makes him Sizzle and laugh and have the courage to try again.
You are part of his solution, not part of his problem.
We, as parents of Sizzlers, may not do everything right,
but we certainly do it all for the right reasons.
And what reasons are they??
That we LOVE THIS CHILD.