So here it is February, and this is my first post of 2016.
That pretty much sums up life in this house lately.
Things have been so erratic and unpredictable around here, it’s hard to be an effective parent, much less write about it with any semblance of order or theme. Every day seems to bounce in a different direction than originally projected. When sleep is disturbed and his anxiety is high, I expect the worst; yet he laughs on through. Then, a day begins well enough for me to envision smooth sailing; yet by evening we’ve crashed and burned.
I’m finding it more and more difficult to write as a parent-blogger. I don’t write fast enough to keep up with the variations. I might start a post in the morning, and before it’s polished, the mood, the atmosphere, the energy has changed and whatever I thought I was going to say no longer feels authentic.
But this volatility is all authentic. This is what it feels like to parent this kid right now.
I have another draft almost ready to go, it’s just a short little nothing piece. An exercise to get back in the habit of writing, which I’ve been trying to do since the New Year began. But the winds shifted before that draft was ready to post, and now it may have to wait. Or join the others in the virtual scrap heap. It just doesn’t feel true at the moment.
The number of drafts in that virtual heap is ridiculous. Some, I just couldn’t quite tie together. Others, I decided I’d rather not share.
This blog is lopsided, and silent at times, because I don’t write about everything. I’m trying to be careful, to respect my son’s privacy even as I write about my experience as a parent. I imagine that he wouldn’t want all of his daily life described in a public forum. Besides, I don’t really want to write about everything. I stick to the successes, the proud moments or the hopeful insights I can glean – it’s fun to write those pieces. Lately, there’s not much I can say. We’re doing OK. We’re getting by. But I’m not winning any medals for superb, insightful parenting, I’ll tell you that.
I miss writing. There are a lot of different reasons I enjoy writing about my son—an escape, a creative outlet, an opportunity to connect with others. But here’s a big one, particularly relevant in months like these. When I write from a more positive perspective, even if it might not feel accurate through the ebb and flow of even a single day around here, the record of the good keeps me from wallowing in the not-so-good.
The website The Mighty has published a few of my pieces, bringing this little blog to a wider audience than it typically reaches. This week, they re-promoted an essay I wrote two years ago, A Walk on the Beach (titled something else on their site). The post describes how I feel grasping for my son’s words, cultivating the patience to learn how he communicates, and trusting that he will.
The responses I have gotten from other parents about that piece, families who also understand what it’s like to raise and support a non-verbal child, show me that writing about this life can make a difference to some who read it. But perhaps more importantly: it can make a difference for me and for my kid. What I wrote then is still true, and this week, I really needed that reminder (a kick in the pants from my past self) to bring back into focus the importance of listening, supporting, believing.
This blog may not always tell the whole story. But, for now, I think it’s still worthwhile.
Thanks for reading.