I am sitting at the computer. I was going to make a quick change on a Facebook post in hopes of reaching more people so we can receive the help we need. And in the background I am listening to one of the Asperger’s outbursts. My husband is doing an excellent job at remaining calm. I am trying to stay out of it, because I won’t be able to stay calm. I would try to force a calm on the situation, which will only exasperate the underlying issues.
I came across a post from a friend that reminded me of an insight I had had last week. My friend said if it weren’t for her youngest two, she doesn’t know how she would survive the day. Included was a beautiful smiling picture of her baby. As a mom with multiple children I assume that means the older children are making things difficult. And the younger children are her “calming waters” as she said in a subsequent post.
My insight that came last week was a memory. When I was a teenager feeling like the world was falling down around me and struggling to find happiness, I turned to the pure love naturally extended to me from my youngest siblings. They were free with their hugs and love. They adored me in a way that was so uplifting. I would come home after school. It was as if they had been waiting for this moment all day and came running the second they heard me come in the door. “Kathy, Kathy, Kathy!” they called. And then I was smothered in hugs. At other times I could seek out a hug when I needed it. At one point I distinctly thought, “at least I know the little ones love me, no matter what.” In a way they were an anchor, my calming waters.
I realized that some of my own children are that same age and stage. I have forgotten how to receive that pure love and use it as an anchor. Instead of struggles with feeling love and accepted with peers at school, parents or other siblings, my struggles are internal and with my children. I had naively thought that as long as my husband and I didn’t yell at each other there would be peace in my home. But there is plenty of clashing with our children. As I talk with others and learn, no one who has a child with Asperger’s is surprised. Sometimes there are ideas extended. But usually the advice I get, is you have to get help. And most of the stories I hear from those whose children have left home (finished that stage of life) scare me and feel me with dread or dismay, cause it is already more than I can bear. Or so it feels.
But I have also seen healing in our family. When I blow it, I have learned I have to apologize. I committed to myself as a teenager that I would always apologize and do my part in fixing things. With one of my Asperger’s children, he will use my apology to reopen the discussion that set off the conflict. He tries to force his point. It hurts really bad and I don’t want to be sucked back into an argument or strife. So I don’t want to apologize. So the alternative I have come to is to write a note. Sometimes I leave it with a small gift I made or found.
Recently, I bought a book for the family to read together. But it was as an apology to him. I felt the need to do something special. And buying extra things while we are saving for our trips is out… generally speaking. But this was the right thing to do, this time. In getting the book, I realized I needed to also consider the other children. I couldn’t justify getting everyone a present with our budget. And I knew that if I only got the book for him, he would control it and never let others read it. It was a fun book. Also I realized that the time reading together would be beneficial to our family. So I decided that the gift would be an apology for my part in the conflict while still being a blessing/gift for the whole family. And it turned out to be a good family experience reading it together.
I have to be very conscious in even how I apologize. Sometimes, I think staying at this conscious level in parenting is exhausting. But so is dealing with the results of being unconscious. And the conscious state is so much more enjoyable.
Back to my insight from the memory of the pure love and abundance of hugs from my young siblings (approximately five and under age). In remembering this, I realized that there is a source of love and healing in my home right now that I am not accessing. In fact sometimes I push it away! It seems preposterous that I would do that. But I get caught up in the busyness of mommy-hood. Or, I feel like I am with them all the time (which I am except for when I teach voice lessons and my weekend shopping when Daddy is home with them), and I “need” the break. So I pull away.
There was a time when I felt like I needed to sit down with my oldest the second he came home from school and talk about the day as long as he wanted. It was so hard at first for me to make myself stop what I was doing but the rewards were huge. Our relationship needed that time consciously given to heal and become strong. It didn’t take away the struggles but we rode them better.
Transfer that back to now, I need to consciously set aside my things that I feel I should do and in a time (not just in school) sit down with my kids who will and hold them, hug them and listen to them. It isn’t going to be easy but it is the change consciously made that will bring new strength and healing into the family.
So I am going to consciously create avenues and bridges so I can receive the love and healing that is available in my children. In doing so I will consciously send love and healing to them. And even if the struggles do not go away we will have stronger relationships. We will ride the struggles better.
This is what Conscious Parenting Recharge is all about. And this is one of the keys:
As a Conscious Parent, I consciously create paths in our relationships to receive and give love and healing.
How will you consciously receive and give love and healing to those you are nearest to (children, spouse, brother, sister, parent, or other)?