Lately I can feel it building inside of me. I know it’s coming because silly songs make me want to cry, a sentence said with just the right emphasis can make me tear up and sometimes, when I am really ripe, it takes just about nothing for the knot to crawl up into my throat and for me to have to breathe steady in order to stop the tears.
I am on the verge of a pity party.
It has not been an easy year.
It happens like that a few times a year and even though I am normally crazy strong at holding it off and pushing it down, this time the emotion is still building with a profound determination. The pity party wants to play out, to knock me around and I try hard to be bigger than it and I push back because I do not have time to stop the merry-go-round and make the motion of my life sit still so I can have a good cry. I also have three little munchkins with me just about every minute of the day who do not need to see their rock fall apart. Gravelly people do not make good anchors so I breathe deep and I think of that fishing trip the kids and I went on in NoCal and of the trip to the Treesort and it calms me a bit. I would like to say this is where the peace re-enters my soul but it doesn’t. It simply settles me down a notch or two.
These are the moments when my conversation with God starts and my sentence begins with words like, “God, why don’t I have….,” and you can fill in the blank anyway you’d like because my wants change from day to day and year to year. It could be, “God, why don’t I have more?” or “God, where is my Mr. Right? Did he get lost?” or “God, why will you not trust me that if I win the lottery I will still be a good person?” Like I said, fill in the blank any way you want because, depending on the day, I sure do.
Today, as the tears began to build, my memory thankfully kicks in and slaps me hard in the face. It is time for me to look back and …to remember. Before I complete my sentence I remember that my wishes are spent. Years ago, I wished my best wish and prayed my best prayer when I made my deal with God. In the middle of my forward free-fall into my own pity party pit, I have forgotten that I have my blessings and instead of giving into the pity party, I should be in my thankful mode. For heaven’s sake, my son went off to seventh grade this morning to classes in regular ed with no pull out time, no resources time and no special assistance. We are by no means perfect but we are still remarkably in the game.
Once upon a time, about nine years ago, when life and autism were bearing down hard on my life I prayed the biggest prayer I have ever prayed. It went something like, “God, please keep your hand on my boy and strengthen his weaknesses. Please help him to be his very best self and guide him to be the boy you want him to be and, whatever blessings you might have sent my way, give them to him because he needs them and I need you to. You have given me three healthy children and a kind family and I am good with that. Whatever else you had in store for me, just please give my blessings to my son.”
And, that’s the moment when I remember and my sentence that begins with “Why me” stops cold.
That is when the pity party ends.
That is when I remember that no matter what I don’t have, I have what I need and I remember I have enough for me, for now.
No matter the drama, no matter the strain, no matter the frustration or the lack of fulfillment, my blessings are enough and I would not go back and change anything because, once upon a time as I prayed that prayer, things started to move in my son and I feel like, on some level, I got a piece of my son back. No, not immediately. It was not flash and thunder and magic. It was simply slow and steady progress. It started with a promise from a mountain (http://autismsparkles.com/the-promise-a-mountain-makes/) and then became what I prayed my best prayer for. You may call it coincidence but I called it an answered prayer and, honestly, if it is working, I don’t mess with it. My son has done things and reached heights no one can explain so I’m good with letting it be and not poking too many sticks at it.
What I really needed today when the pity party kicked in was a kick in the pants for not remembering better and sooner. There is always good if we look closer and, truly, things can always get worse. Today, the want of the pity party has not died and the welling up has not completely dried but I try to remember and I try to move on because mostly, the pity party is what happens when I keep my view too narrow and my focus too thin. I still feel like shutting down, taking a seat and having a good old cry but, really, if I remind myself to look at the big picture I remember that what I have is immense. Life is not perfect but life is good.
There are many shades of autism and, the hard truth is, autism is often silent. I have the thing I never thought I would have. Once upon a time, I couldn’t have a conversation with my son and now… I can. It may be choppy and difficult and it may take a lot of prompting and modeling and sometimes it may be like pulling teeth but… I can and, when it comes to autism, that’s a big win. So pity party be damned…I’m putting on the big girl panties and I am moving on because, in the big picture, life is good and I’m choosing to surf the blessings.