My “typical” eight year-old son goes to this awesome private school. It’s so good that my husband jokes around with his Dad friends that they are stuck in Georgia. Even if they got better jobs somewhere else, they wouldn’t want to leave this amazing community. It’s such a good school, that when one of my son’s classmates, left for financial reasons to go to the public school across the street, her Mom started a blog talking about how much she misses the school.
One of the reasons the Mom left this amazing place, she writes, is “it’s no fun to feel like the only ones struggling among an affluent group” (sparkymom.blogspot.com).
In other words, she doesn’t want to be poor around rich people.
I started to think, “What have I given up that’s precious to me, because I don’t want to feel poor around rich people?”
We used to have these friends and neighbors who had a baby the same age as Cal. We hung out together. We would order pizza. We’d have playdates.There was a feeling of comfort and safety with these neighbors and friends that I haven’t experienced since.
I have chosen not to see or speak to these friends in almost ten years. Why?Because I am too afraid to feel poor around people who I believe are richer than me. This is how they are rich: their son was diagnosed with autism as a baby. My son was diagnosed with autism at three years-old. Now, their kid has barely any signs of autism and goes to a regular school without any helpers. Their kid is almost cured and my kid is not.
Because of the training I’ve received in helping Cal, I’ve learned how to talk to myself. Yesterday, I said to myself, “Why am I afraid to see my old friends who’s kid is doing “better” than Cal? What am I needing from them that I’m not giving myself?”
“I’m not feeling like I’m a good Mom.” I said. “I am giving myself the feeling that it’s my fault Cal is still autistic. I don’t want to give up things that are precious to me. So, I’m going to let go of believing that it’s my fault that Cal is still autistic.” I cried on and off for almost two hours and let go of my belief that’s it’s my fault that Cal is still autistic. And, oooooh, it felt good!
Today, I was with Cal and he wouldn’t put his underwear on. I initially felt like somehow it was my fault. Then I said to myself, “Do you want to give up things that are precious to you as a result of you judging yourself?” I said, “No”. So I told myself what a good Mom I am. Without my self-judgment, I could see Cal so much more clearly. It may be hard for him to get up. Putting on underwear would require him to move. So I happily turned on a fan and put a snack on the table to motivate him to get up. He got up and then put on the underwear easily.
Then when Cal did something “autistic” and I judged myself, I would remember my commitment. I would think what a great Mom I am. Our session went great today. We were really connected! Cal did not do anything out of the ordinary today. However, when Cal wouldn’t do what I wanted him to do, as opposed to blaming myself, I would remember how great I am. I was so much more creative and free than usual, and we had a beautiful afternoon together.