I have mentioned my friend Carrie on this blog a number of times. I feel like she is a gift from God just for me! Even though we live many miles apart, she faithfully holds my hand on this autism journey and blesses me with her wisdom. Carrie has a six year-old daughter on the spectrum, and she recently wrote to me about her first week back at school. I know so many mamas went through first-day-of-school jitters last week, and so many are yearning for our kids to let us in, I wanted to share some of Carrie’s letter:
Since your “Questions” post I’ve made a conscious effort to ask questions of Grayson, even though I don’t expect an answer. Sometimes, like yesterday on the first day of school, I’m more HOPEFUL that she’ll give me one – I choose my words carefully, make sure I’ve got her attention, and then launch it very deliberately and wait expectantly for an answer… and the answer is always… “MAKE SOME CUPCAKES!”
I’ve been told on many occasions that I ask a lot of questions. I guess when it comes to people I care about or something I am interested in, I like to “know it all”. I get a little crazy the first week or two of school each year. Surely most parents do… we are sending our greatest treasures off ‘into the world’ on their own, entrusting their care to OTHERs, praying that they will be treated well, taught well, and that they’ll come home to us safe and happy.
But there is a difference.
Most parents (whether their kids like it or not), have the ability to grill their kids when they get home from school… and get results. “What did you do at school today?” “What did you have for snack time?” “Who are your friends?” “What was the best part of your day?”
For a question asker like me, the fact that I can ask all I want but with zero feedback makes me nuts. I’VE GOT TO KNOW THESE THINGS!! This leaves me at the mercy of everyone else who is around her during the day. PLEASE!! Teachers, bus drivers, occupational therapists, speech therapists, adapted PE teachers – DETAILS! INFORMATION! THIS WAY!
So I think that God must have a lesson for me in this. There is a great measure of comfort in knowing that she is not “on her own” out there, but that she is HIS child, He is with her and loves her even more than I do. And He is fully capable of taking care of her.
So maybe I don’t have to follow the little bus to school in the morning, maybe I don’t need to grill everyone who she encounters in her day, and maybe (strrrreetch) I don’t need for her to answer my questions… at the end of the day, I really don’t need to know it all. The truth is that it feels strange to even write that. My fingers are moving, but my brain is still saying “YES, YOU DO!”
So I’ll walk the walk and remember that sometimes…
actions precede feelings.
I didn’t follow the little bus today. I haven’t emailed her teacher yet this afternoon. But I know I’ll be reading her Daily Note a dozen times at least, somehow certain that with each reading a golden nugget of information will pop out at me lending some insight to her day and the hours of her life spent away from me.
And I’ll keep asking her questions, not because I expect an answer (though I’ll keep hoping for one), but because I believe that she hears me and understands that I ask because I’m interested and because I love her.
Along these lines, one of my all-time favorite posts comes from Adventures in Autism called Letting Go Of Chandler. Whether you’re a special needs parent or not, I believe it’s a must-read.