The beauty of sticking with it is starting to reveal itself as I journey with my child. There was no immediate gratification on this road. It has been a long and arduous process. However, as I’m seeing the fruits there is joy and beauty and relief. There are so many ah-ha moments of parenting, and I’m discovering one more as I have been determined to help my child thrive amidst her struggles within.
There are amazing things as well. She is bright, creative, a leader, enthusiastic and has a smile that will light up the room. Her memory is way better than mine (that’s not saying much at this stage of life), but she really is as sharp as a whip. She performs well in school and makes friends easily.
We call her the “cruise director” because she always has a plan and wants to get everyone involved. This is great…except for when it is not. Because of her highly functioning visual cortex she sets the scene in her mind. When things deviate from the movie she has playing inside her brain, the frustration sets in. Anger pours out. There is a spiral into the abyss in both her contentment and in the atmosphere of our home.
The years of parenting have been intense. In ways, I felt lost when I became a mom. I had everything I ever wanted in life and yet I felt unhappy. This is not what I had imagined my parenting journey to look like. I didn’t know it would be so hard. My own unrealistic expectations were robbing me of my joy, but I was determined to not let it be so.
While I have my own internal struggles that sometimes vomit out into my family – impatience, selfishness, pride and a desire for control – I also have a great resolve to do this job well. I am teachable and adapt where I need, which I believe are qualities beneficial when you are a mom.
The Beauty of Sticking with It
Like any kind of physical achievement – climbing a mountain, running a marathon, mastering a sport – there is an intense period of a lot of hard work. It can be severe. It is draining. It takes determination.
Then, one day, you find yourself on top of that mountain. For the first time you are gazing at the world from the peak. The valleys below are glowing and the sun has never felt closer. You breathe. Beauty.
One day, you reach that finish line. You fall in exhaustion, but you celebrate. You did it. One step at a time until you reached your goal. Achievement.
My child is thriving. Perfect? No. Of course not. None of us will reach that status this side of heaven. But she is better – a lot better. The episodes of anger are fewer and farther between. She is able to get control so much quicker. The positive traits of her personality are starting to dominate.
What made the difference? Was it the sensory therapy? Was it the different ways we were handling her anger? Was it the change of schools? Was it the weighted blanket? Was it our ability to be better at staying calm when things spiraled out of control? Was it our willingness to name the root of the issue by saying things like, “I understand you want things the way you want things. I get it. I feel like that too. It’s called selfishness, and we both need to really work on that”? Was it changing the atmosphere of our home? Was it that she is just getting older and maturing?
Yes. It was all of it.
While we remain far from perfect parents ourselves, we are still seeing fruits. The beauty of sticking with it in parenting mimics the beauty of sticking with it in your physical pursuits. It’s hard work. You try different things to see what influences growth. You endure. You are teachable. Parenting is not a dash. It’s a marathon. We are going to be at this for a while, but find hope in the fact that you will see a difference as you aim to love your individual children well.