Tonight as I was putting my son to bed I began to think about his future. I told him he was an amazing boy who would grow up to be an amazing man. His eyes closed and I felt him fall into a deep sleep.
I’m not sure if he even heard me or would care if he did. Today he cared about Spider-Man shoes and YouTube videos and Family Feud. Last week he cared about Angry Birds and playing “Getchu, Getchu, Getchu” with his grandpa. His imagination has always been wild, his own and ever changing. That’s what I love so much about him.
It has been so wonderful to watch him grow. I know most parents would be able to relate. But why do we put so much pressure on our kids to stop growing? From a young age we encourage them to talk about what they want to be when they grow up. We teach them about marriage and children and staying married. We try to shield them from change and mistakes. Do we really want to teach them that you can only choose one career or one way to live your life? Does success only equate to picking a career and spending your life climbing the corporate ladder?
I have no idea what my son will choose to be in life. I just hope he chooses to be happy and helps others do the same.
How can we encourage our children to grow far beyond childhood?
I’m such a worrier. Oh and a hoverer. My parenting style is helicopter without a pilot. I don’t want to be this way. In fact, I hate it, but having a child with autism means I don’t get to turn off the chopper.
I want to be the parent who can sit down at a birthday party and chat about good preschools, but the reality is that I can’t. At any moment my child can have his hand in the birthday cake or letting the air out of the bouncy house. Or even worse-another parent can try to discipline him and he will lose his shit because a stranger entered his space.
I envy the other parents who can relax a little bit because their kids understand social norms and actually want to play with the other kids. Going out in public is hardly enjoyable for me most of the time. I’m always trying to find the balance between allowing my son to be himself and not letting him disturb other people.
Because of my experiences as a mother, I am never shocked about crazy stories in the media. Not to mention I barely have time to watch the news or read a complete article. When I heard about the little boy who fell into the gorilla pit, I didn’t even read the details of the story. I was happy to know he was okay. I was sad for the gorilla. And I moved on with my day.
The next day I came across all of the articles about the mothers lack of parenting and what should have been done to save the gorilla. These thoughts had never crossed my mind. I never even considered whose fault it was that the little boy fell in. My mind concluded that kid plus public place equals shit happens.
You know what that is called? Minding your business. Not judging or make conclusions about people you don’t know or a situation you were not a part of. I suggest more people do it because no two situations are the same.
Regardless of how that boy got in there, something had to be done to save him because that was the right thing to do. And the people who had to make that decision in the crisis did the best they could. They’re the professionals and that is their job. They were not responsible for judging that mother and asking her why she wasn’t watching him better before they made the decision to save him.
You know what else? Whether that mother was hovering or enjoying a good conversation at the time that it happened, she probably feels terrible. She will probably never forget that moment when she took her child to the zoo and ended up almost losing him. So everyone can save their judgments because she’s already judging herself. Just like every other mom. Every other day.