Sometimes we stare so long at the door that is closing, that we see too late the one that is open. Alexander Graham Bell
Every day I go through a range of emotions. I cannot tell you that there has been a day where everything is coming up roses. Life is just like that. For everyone. There are moments of contentedness, joy, anger, frustration, sadness, impatience, boredom and exhaustion. No matter who you are or what life circumstances you face, running through emotions in this way is natural.
I see my own days akin to a roulette wheel of emotion. I am the marble, spinning around the wheel. I feel the bumps of each pocket that I may pass, but eventually my momentum is spent and I settle in one spot. Depending on how many stops I’ve made in any particular pocket on any given day, I will conclude whether my day was good or not. But unlike a roulette wheel, I control my stay in each pocket of emotion that I face. Through planning and motivation, I can prepare for the spot in which I settle. I will control whether I win or lose by forcing myself to settle in a spot of positive emotion.
With my son’s disability, this is what I have found and what I hope:
Living with a child who faces challenges every day is enlightening.
Things that used to drive me crazy have become tolerable.
When my child does not respond – I have learned patience
When my child loses patience – I have learned redirection
When redirection becomes obsession – I have learned to teach within the obsession
When my child masters what is taught – I’ve learned to give high praise
When my son receives the high praise, he learns pride.
Pride leads to self-esteem.
Self -esteem leads to a desire to learn more.
Learning more leads to knowledge.
Knowledge leads to success.
Success conquers disability.
It is a formula that is important to both of us. Of course things are hard. Delays are clear and communication is impaired. There are days when my son will repeat the same phrase 30 times in a row, despite being asked to stop. Yes, I have gotten to a place of intolerability where I snap and yell. I always regret these moments because, more often than not, they result in tears or the replacement of a 100 “I’m sorry” recitations that make me feel 12 inches tall.
There are days when my child is frustrated and unable to communicate something that he wants desperately to say. These days are heartbreaking because I can see that he sees the inability to get out what is locked inside his head but cannot be set free. Those looks and that kind of frustration puts me in a dark place, a place where I feel helpless and angry that I cannot make it better for him. A place where I can only give him love and comfort but I cannot repair the pieces that do not make the connection from inside him to speak, to get his point across.
Times like those can become the dark clouds in a blue sky if you let them. I cannot. There is too much work to be done. Too much too learn and much success to be had. We do not have time for tears anymore. Knowledge will always be our key and we will keep shaping that key to unlock every door we can until that day we feel we’ve fully unlocked success. That day will come. I know it.
The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Thomas Paine
Great minds have purposes; little minds have wishes. Little minds are subdued by misfortunes; great minds rise above them. Washington Irving.