Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Walking a Fine Line

Sometimes decisions in life feel like walking a tightrope. I unconditionally love my children on one side; I want my children to do better and achieve more on the other. I defend my choice of sending my kids to Baltimore City Public Schools as a place where they are getting a good education; I look at poor decisions that are being made in these schools and want there to be big changes. I see the unique talents and qualities in my autistic child; I want him learn ways to fit into society to be a functional, contributing member. I could go on about work and marriage, but I think you get the point. Walk along the tightrope, focusing on the path and the goal and trying to keep from falling into the abyss.

The problem with the middle? Sometimes I feel like I've just found a way for everybody to be able to find fault with me. "You mean you're not a warrior mother sacrificing all your money, time and energy to focus solely on rescuing your autistic child from the tragedy of autism? For shame, you don't really love him." But at the same time, "You advocate for your autistic child and work with others to change his behaviors to get him to be more acceptable to neurotypicals? For shame, you don't love him as he is." To which I say, how about a little less judgment and a little more compassion, for both me and my child? Being human, we all just muddle along and do the best we can. In the vast scheme of things we're pretty small and our mistakes and triumphs are small as well. Viewed from a distance, we all seem pretty similar. Maybe we could see the similarities instead of pushing people apart.

Oh no, this is sounding like a dreaded whiny post so quickly I'll write something that's made me feel really positive lately. I am now sure that people working with my autistic child really do pay attention to how he's doing pretty much all the time and are emotionally connected to him. That, along with some incredible progress, makes me think he's where he needs to be, walking a tightrope himself, between being challenged and feeling comfortable. When I ask him about how he feels about his new school, I think he agrees.

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