When you parent a 2e child, you find yourself holding your breath all the time! Maybe others don’t, but I do. For example, I hoped that mine would act appropriately at a work picnic. Barely breathing, I kept an eagle eye on him…and then the moment happens. From a distance, I see him chase a co-worker’s daughter only to tell her that he thinks she’s an idiot. Another example, is holding my breath when I run into one of my student’s parents at the store. Nervously, I try to introduce my TBP to the actively-involved-PTA-parent. At this point, he moans and hides behind me. I try to have a polite (yet very short) chat while he is pulling my arm behind my back. Ugh…
For much of this school year, I held my breath each time that I saw an email from my son’s teacher or I walked in the door to get the report from our nanny. Often, and without really knowing it, I am not breathing during birthday parties, dinners in restaurants, shopping, parent/teacher conferences, and playdates with newer acquaintances.
When I am home, without guests, I breathe. In this regard, my TBP and I are alike. He says,”I am the most comfortable as me…right here with you.” Depending on the day that I’ve had, this can make me cry or smile. “Me too,” I say to him. I start to think about how reflective he is beginning to be about his own strengths and challenges.
Today I left for work, holding my breath. I knew that it was field day at his school and this type of overstimulation is usually challenging. I coached him about finding an adult if it was too much for him or to go to the office if it was too loud. He tells me that he knows what to do and that I shouldn’t worry. Yeah, right?! Do you know me?!
I walk out the door…start to hold my breath. Things have been going so great for several months. Although I don’t like to admit it, I was expecting this great streak would end today…because of field day. Driving to work, I composed an email to my TBP’school in my mind. When I got to school, I would write the request to keep an extra eye on him and that he might be more comfortable in the office. Since it is busy this time of year, I forgot about the email. I actually forgot about field day…until the end of the day when I saw the email notification.
I sighed…and started to hold my breath. I guess this was an attempt to prepare me for the news.
Instead of the expected report, I got a surprising email that said that it was a fabulous day! He was actively involved, happily danced to the music, and watched his classmates. He even participated in the first grade limbo! As I read the email, I started to cry. I was so FREAKING excited about field day and it made me think that maybe we have turned a corner! Could we be headed toward a more flexible, patient, tolerant, social kid? Could next year be OUR (I mean, his) year? Thinking back, I also cried a bit about the guilt that I was feeling. I realized that I was SO sure that today was going to be a disaster. I hoped that it wouldn’t, but I had prepared myself for THAT email and I was SHOCKED by THIS one.
At some point, you have to breathe. Not breathing just isn’t a good option. At our house, we are no longer in the “panic stage.” For me, this means that I should begin to expect the good stuff. This will be a welcomed change!