The kids at times give me odd looks when I ask them to behave in a certain manner.
“Mom what’s the big deal?”
“Why must I behave this way?”
“I don’t care what others think so why should you?”
These are just a few of the many arguments they have both brought to me-sometimes serious and other times not. From my large bag of standard stock answers, I usually reply to them saying….
“Because this is how your father and I are raising you”.
I realize however, that while this answer doesn’t really resolve their questions, the underlying foundation does suggest their father and I want them to succeed in every aspect of life…but while doing so, the road can at times be bumpy.
I was raised with eight of the best presents my parents have ever given us-siblings. Nowadays, large families are mostly out of vogue-we marvel at those who have more than three children. My husband and I wanted three children when we first began trying to have kids…but God had other plans. Thus the two we have are more than enough for us. The other night while “bragging” about my children, someone asked me if having a child with Asperger’s was difficult? It has to be right?” I smiled and said, “What’s the alternative?” Yes having a kid who is different from what you expected is difficult for two minutes…then you learn how work with the child and you move forward.
Though I have to admit, I when I look back at the time when we didn’t have a diagnosis for the boy’s behavior, I cringe at the way I responded to him:”Why can’t you act like the other boys your age?” I didn’t understand or see him for who he is. I was too busy mourning who he was not. Nowadays we try to see one another without restrictions. This is not easy but we are all trying.
One night when the doll and I were out to dinner with my brother and his kids, because of my placement at the extended table, I overheard the doll and her cousins making fun of her brother. I turned and looked at the doll and asked, “What are you talking about?” The other girls looked mortified while trying not to giggle at being caught. “Nothing mom” the doll replied. “Really? Because from what I can tell, you’re making fun of your brother. If you can say this in front of them, why not tell me too? So, what’s going on?” “Um, I’m sorry mom…” she replied. “I think it’s time we get going…” I replied, very upset with her.
When we were in the car I asked her if she understood why I was so upset. “Because he’s my brother….?” She offered. “Because he’s the only person, in your life-next to your parents, who will love you unconditionally. He will be the only one who will support you when you need it the most. And here you are throwing him under a bus…for what? Some laughs? Seems like a shallow reason, don’t you think?” I asked. She apologized again as we made our way home.
I have a very good friend whose nephew is gay. He’s kept this information hidden from his parents and siblings for fear they would disown him. Last week, his fears were realized when his parents spotted something on his Facebook page and chose to remove him from their family. While their son was at work, they changed the locks on the doors to their home and told him not to come back-unless he changed who he is. “I am so sorry…” I said to my friend (when she called) not really knowing what else to offer-besides prayers for all of them. “I want you to know, the extended family has reached out so he knows we love him for who he is” she replied.
After our conversation I felt very bad for her nephew; I still do. My mind goes back to an oft folded piece of paper we found tucked into a corner of my mom’s wallet-which explains how she raised her children. I pray my children find similarities in how they were raised–how they view one another and in how they raise their children…
I accept you and love you, even when I don’t understand you. You don’t earn my love; you simply have it unconditionally. You will always have my love and acceptance, regardless.