I've been feeling like I should write something for the new year. I should have some resolutions, or at least hopes for the year to come. I usually like the idea of a clean start for the new year, however symbolic. But this year, I woke up on January 1 feeling much the same as I did the day before: facing many more days of much the same, with no real sense of where we're headed. Maybe it had to do with the fact that I stayed up way too late and the kids had the nerve to want breakfast at 7am. Let's just say I wasn't feeling a renewed spirit for the new year.
Thank god for Desperate Housewives, which has given me inspiration for the new year and basically written this post for me.
Do you watch it? I know you do. But in case you didn't realize it was back on after the holiday break and forgot to set your DVR, this week was the episode where we learn what happened after a small plane crased on Wisteria Lane. The epsiode was a collection of everyone's dreams about the future if they had or hadn't made certain choices. I generally don't like this "what if?" kind of show. But this time, one of the scenarios struck a nerve with me.
Lynette, who is pregnant with twins, learns that one of the babies might be born with a disability. She is rushed to surgery. But in Lynette's dream, she imagines what life with a child with a disabilty would be like. I cringed. So often these shows get this kind of thing so, so wrong. But I have to say, from my very limited point of view, they got things pretty right.
The dynamic between Lynette and her husband, Tom was very similar to ours. He's pretty calm; she's looks exhausted. He's optimistic, while she's worried. I tend to focus on what isn't happening yet, or what isn't going well. In one scene, during a difficult therapy session, Lynette frets "He should be sitting by now, or pulling up to stand or crawling." The therapist tells her that if she worries too much about "what he should be able to do by now or what other kids his age are doing, it is going to drive you crazy." This is true for all parents, but even more so for those of us with kids who are delayed. I am always looking at where Moe should be compared to his age group. And even though I already know he's dealyed, I feel bad when I see it in some particular situation. So, resolution #1: Moe is on his own path. Get over it. Celebrate his accomplishments and stop driving myself crazy worrying about a future I cannot predict.
Lynette breaks down and her conversation with Tom goes something like this. I think the writers at ABC must have microphones in my house, because I have had this conversation:
Lynette: I can't do this
Tom: Can't do what?
Lynette: This. Her. The therapy... And no one can even tell us if any of it is helping.
Tom: I think it is. And if it isn't? This is what there is to do. So we're doing it.
Lynette: Well, I can't
Tom: No. You don't want to. Neither do I. Neither does he.... But we don't have a choice.
Lynette: I feel like I'm being punished and I don't even know what I did.
Tom: You can't think that way.
Lynette: What else is there to think about? Hopes for the future? He might not even have one.
Tom: He's 14 months! Don't write him off yet. But you should start thinking about the future. Because no matter what, it's coming, and it is either going to make you less afraid or more. And you will know that you either did everything that you can for your son or you will be sorry.
Resolution #2: Stop feeling sorry for myself. There is no giving up so get over it. Know that we are doing everything we can for Moe. Do everything in my power to make sure that keeps happening as we have our first IEP this year. Do or do not. There is no try.
(Okay, that last one was from Yoda, but it just felt right.)
Fast forward and the son goes on to graduate from law school. In his graduation speech, he recognizes that his mom pushed him hard. She was scared, not of his disability but of "my potential and that she'd miss something that would help me reach it." Resolution #3: Stop being afraid of autism. Fear will not change the future. Do not give up hope that anything is possible. If we work hard, Moe will reach his greatest potential, which is all a mother can ask for. (And a phone call once in a while. And maybe some grandkids. Oy.)
Oh, and all of the above goes for you too, Jelly Belly.