I have gotten to a place in my life where I'm FINALLY figuring out that I'm wired differently. I mean, I always knew I was unusual, and I couldn't really discern why. I thought it was my upbringing, my unholy passion for Duran Duran, the pink/white label Aquanet I used in the 80's, playing Dungeons and Dragons, reading Shakespeare for fun. But, alas...no.
I didn't think about it too much until I was preparing Nathan for the summer transition back to school. I have been gathering things for him to practice: Reading, writing, math, science. I wanted him to do it in small bursts where he wouldn't get overwhelmed. I also didn't want to have a repeat of the first two months of school where every day was a struggle to get him to do any sort of work.
As we sat down, I saw that he was liking using the computer to do his work. There are alot of educational games he can do, including reading. He was engrossed, entertained and dare I say it?....educated. It hit me like a rock falling out of the sky. Oh My God! Why didn't I see this before? I think they refer this to an "Aha" moment, which I'm always so late to the dinner table on those.
But, I saw it. He does not process in the same way that others do. So why am I forcing him to do the work in the same fashion over and over that does not WORK? Why can we not find a new route to the same goal? If the goal does not change, what matters which way you get there?
I know this will be a tough sell. I know this involves meetings and IEP amendments and gnashing of teeth. If it means that Nate gets to have an awesome education experience instead of constant anxiety and frustration, then sign me up, sister.
As I spent this time reflecting on Nate's needs, I looked at my own and had another rock fall from the sky, this time harder (as it was trying to get my attention). I am not your typical person. I like My Little Pony and all things Halloween. I do not work a full time, 40 hour a week job. I have multiple sources of income. My house is a chaotic mess of art supplies, books and 20 million pairs of unmatched socks. I have GAD and choose to work through it by breathing, journaling and occasionally stuffing my face with Cheez Its. I'm back in school after 20 years of figuring out what in the hell I wanted to do with my life.
I have come to the conclusion that I don't have to follow society's norms or paradigms. That I can choose what path works for me. People thought I was NUTS to give up full time employment and do a bunch of odd jobs. I took a huge leap of faith, I've been doing it for 6 years and I don't ever regret it. Friends ask me how I juggle all the things that I do. Nathan, work, home, school, theater, doctor's appointments. I always reply, "I just make it work."
I don't act my age. I didn't fall into that trap of mommyhood where you lose all sense of identity and purpose. I wanted to evolve. I wanted to better and challenge myself. That will be a long process, but something I look forward to with great relish. (Well, I really hate relish, but you catch my drift)
In addition, I am working on being more open to friends, and sometimes complete strangers. I got my nails done with my sisters last weekend and the adorable Vietnamese woman who did them told me about how she misses her homeland and that I was so friendly and nice to her. I've had friends on Facebook tell me that my string of positive and affirming quotes have helped them through some tough times. I have reached out to them, too, and told them to email me if they ever needed anything.
I normally would not do this. I am generally reserved and do not like to reveal myself, as I have self esteem, self confidence and trust issues. (Who am I kidding? I have a full subscription! LOL!) It's built into me that it's WRONG to be me, that people KNOW I'm weird, therefore, I will struggle to make friends because I'm so damn strange. Finally, reality came for a visit and slapped me across the mouth and said, "You're denying the chance to connect with people." That's all we're looking for in this world, I think, is a way to connect. I'm doing it now and it feels awesome.
I'm sharing this awesomeness with Nathan. He has benefitted from this, too, and is the better for it. More flexible, more aware, more happy in his own skin. We both are and that is such a gift.