Tag Archives: impatience

Respect

I don’t know about you, but there are definitely days when I lose sight of long-term goals.  I become impatient.  I forget to respect the process… whether it’s my own, my husband’s, a friend’s or either of my children’s.  I just don’t.  I want things to happen on MY time frame.  I like when things happen in exactly the way I imagined they would, with the speed in which I hoped for.  I LOVE when things happen even faster or in a way I couldn’t have imagined and end up even better than I thought.  But when things meander along, taking their time, going at a pace far too slow for my liking I have trouble…  My father used to say to me, “You want what you want, when you want it.”  This was NOT meant as a compliment.   He was right.  I am impatient.  I prefer when things I want to happen, happened yesterday.

I used to think I would become more patient with age, but if anything, growing older makes me even less patient as I’m more aware of my mortality and that there really is an “end” to all of this, or I should say an end to me(gasp!) and therefore I have to hurry if I’m going to get everything I want done, finished.  You know, things like changing the way people perceive autism, changing the way society treats people with disabilities, changing how our education system works… little stuff like that…  *Big grin.

So when I’m hit with a wave of impatience, when I am most definitely NOT respecting the process, whatever and whomever that may apply to, I must remind myself of my tendency toward impatience and that I do not control much of what happens in this world.  Everyone can let out their breath now; I know that was something most of you were concerned about.  *Said with a big smile and a generous dollop of sarcasm.

Respect… this is something I think about a great deal.  My daughter’s life is no less worthy of respect than my own.  Respecting her means, listening to her, finding out how best to communicate with her, I have to respect the way she learns, the best ways for her to express herself in any given situation, the way she takes in information, the time she needs to move from one thing to the next, the clear instructions she needs so she can do what is being asked and honoring her as a human being who deserves to be treated with dignity.

Respect.

Musings of an Aspie wrote a post the other day entitled, (Not) a Little Slow.  It’s a terrific post, one I wish was part of a “Welcome To The Tribe – Things You Should Know Handout”.  I wish this handout existed for all of us when we receive an autism diagnosis, whether for ourselves or our children.  Actually this imaginary handout should be made available to every human being on this planet.  If we treated all humans with the kind of generosity, respect and civility practiced at Autism conferences where Autistic people are not only in attendance, but are largely responsible for the creation of the programming and planning, this world would be a better place.

Respect.

Em & Laura on the subway

Em & Laura

Dreams, Love, Loss and Gratitude

I had a dream last night that unsettled me.  I dreamt that I was standing with some other people and saw a woman with her young son.  He was small, maybe five years old at most.  I was fascinated because he was holding what looked to be a “string” like Emma has, but much smaller.  It was proportionately the same size as Em’s given how little he was.  I turned away because Em was saying something to me and when I turned back around the mother and her son had walked away.  On the ground was the little boy’s string.  So I picked it up and ran after them.  As I approached the mother I held out the tiny furl of string and said, “I think this is your son’s.  I wouldn’t want him to lose it.”  The mother stared at me and said, “What is that thing?”

I said, “Oh!  I think it’s maybe his string.  My daughter…”  but before I could finish she interrupted me and said, “That isn’t ours.  It’s garbage.”  I felt as though I had been punched in the stomach.  And then she turned away, carrying her son who gazed at me wordlessly over her shoulder.  I stood there watching them walk away from me and felt stunned and confused.  I wondered if maybe I’d somehow misunderstood and that perhaps it wasn’t important to her child.  And then I felt ashamed for having approached them and said anything.  Ashamed that I’d assumed it was important because my daughter’s string is so important to her.  Ashamed too, that what is considered beloved and of value to my daughter is seen as garbage by another.  I stood there feeling these things and then I turned to find my daughter was no where in sight.  I felt that horrible surge of panic and adrenaline as I began going through the various scenarios of where she could be or what might have happened to her.

When I woke up I wanted to cry I felt such unspeakable sadness.  All morning that dream stayed with me like a shadow.  All morning I have felt fragile and on edge.  And then I read my friend Gareeth’s latest blog post.  You can read it ‘here‘.  It is a daughter’s moving and powerful tribute to her mother.  I cried as I read because it is so beautifully written, but also because it is about profound loss as well as gratitude for what wasn’t lost.  Loss of time, loss of relationships, loss of missed opportunities…  and as I read I realized that dream was also about loss and judgement and denial and how we harm those we love.  And now as I sit here in my studio looking out at the bumper to bumper traffic on the 59th Street bridge, the rain pours down.  I can hear drops splattering the top of the air conditioner that juts out of one of my studio windows in irregular plops and pings.  Rain drops stream down the windows obscuring my view and I am surprised that I hear no angry honking given how treacherous the traffic is, just the occasional siren can be heard in the far distance.

I feel so grateful to all those people driving their cars who aren’t honking at each other.  I feel so grateful that though the traffic is at a crawl, people are being patient and it gives me hope.  Let me be patient today with every person I come into contact with.  Let me give myself the same respect and patience.  Let me be aware and kind and respectful to others today.  Let me feel gratitude for all that I have.  Let me feel my feelings and not behave as though my feelings are facts.  But most of all, let me know the difference.

Em’s string – February, 2013

Em's string

 

Impatience

How you do anything, is how you do everything.  I don’t know if that’s a direct quote, but the idea is from a Buddhist teacher who wrote a book with a similar title, which I also cannot remember exactly.  What I do remember is reading that idea and how it resonated.

So I had surgery on Wednesday, was home that night, was in a lot of pain Thursday, barely remember Friday, but know I felt much, much better and by Saturday was over it.  I don’t mean physically, I mean I was over it, as in – we did the whole surgery thing, now let’s get on with life, this has becoming tiresome.  When I woke up on Saturday and still felt like I’d been hit broadside by a semi, I thought –  I should feel well enough to get up and do things.  Then I had to remind myself, it had only been two full days since I woke from the anesthesia and that this was the third day and I would feel better, eventually.  With that thought in mind I wandered around and went back to bed.  Sunday I was more active and yesterday I was a whirlwind of activity, comparatively speaking.  But I did have to take a nap at one point and had a brutal headache.  Today, determined to just “act as if” all was well, I woke with everyone else, tried to do my part in getting the children ready for school, did a load of laundry, and now, sitting here, feel exhausted again, and, it must be said, tired of feeling tired.

How you do anything is how you do everything.

So the bad news is I’m impatient, but that’s also the good news because my impatience pushes me to be active, which is a good thing after surgery as the worst thing one can do is give in to the feeling of just wanting to stay in bed… forever.

Like so many things, emotions tend to seep into everything.  When I feel upbeat and full of energy everything takes on a brighter hue, people seem friendlier, minor delays and the vicissitudes of  life don’t have a lasting impact.  But the opposite is also true.  So this morning while getting Emma ready for her school bus she said she wanted to play a game.

“Okay.  What game do you want to play?” I asked.

“Imagine that game,” she answered.

“How do you play it?”  I asked.

She then began to sing an Elmo song entitled – “Imagine That” and began to script the dialogue between Zooey and another Sesame Street character.

“Now we know what the – imagine that – game is,” Richard remarked.

Yep.  And here’s the thing, this isn’t terrible.  There’s nothing inherently wrong with her choosing to do this during the ten minutes she had left before her school bus arrived.  But I felt disappointed.  I had hoped she wanted to play a game.  You know, a game where we actually interacted.  But that’s not what Emma had in mind.  And it’s okay.  She wanted to sing her song and so she did.

Impatience.  Acceptance.   Impatience.  Acceptance.

How you do anything is how you do everything.

For more on Emma’s journey through a childhood of autism, go to:   Emma’s Hope Book