So I’ve started to re-read the OASIS Guide to Aspergers. I figure it’s been a while and I’m in a much better place to receive the information that they have to give. I did try to read it when we first got the diagnosis but was in no way ready to accept what anyone had to say. I was still too angry, too disappointed, too ashamed, too hurt. I had too much to deal with so I got by on other smaller books. This one is a bit of a tome but it will be worthwhile. I don’t have to fight so much now and can step back and learn more about the what and not worry about the why.
As I’m sitting there, I’m reading the chapter on the stages we go through once we receive the diagnosis and am relieved to discover that I am not “monster” parent and what I have been feeling is normal. The chapter goes on to discuss how a parent of an AS child does in fact routinely question their parenting skills, their value as a parent, the decisions that they’ve made and if they are doing right by any other children. It also addresses the guilt we might feel about not being able to afford services for our child that they might benefit from.
Now overall I think I have been a good advocate for my child. I spent the first 7 years of his life running around trying to fix his skin, trying to sort out his behaviors, trying to fight the school for what he needed all while working full time for at least 4 of those years. On my good days, I know I haven’t done too badly. On my bad days – I am the worst parent in the world who has not done nearly enough, has let too much time slip by without intensive therapy (that really he doesn’t need as he’s quite mild), has not spent enough time drilling him for homework, etc. Those bad days are mighty long let me tell you.
So as I am sitting there realizing that maybe I am not doing such a bad job after all, I get the urge to hug my son. A good friend once said, if you need to – go get your boy. So I went and got my boy. He was putting away his laundry, or supposed to be anyway, and I asked him to give me a hug. As we swayed for a moment, he says to me, “Do you remember when you used to hold me and do that little song ?” We continued to sway and I hummed the song from so long ago. It was just a little tune that my dad used to “da de da” to as we took a spin around the living room. I started doing that with my kids as babies to soothe them. We would waltz around the living room quite often and continued until they were too big to pick up. And Thomas remembers. He remembers we used to dance together. He remembers the tune and the time we spent waltzing around.
I don’t have too many good memories of my dad. He wasn’t a bad parent, he just wasn’t around much. But I do remember the waltz and thanks to my dad, my son does too. So maybe the title of this blog should include, he is remembered. My son happens to look a lot like my dad and as my dad was quite handsome, this is good. My son aspires to be a great father some day and hopefully by giving him memories of our dance, he will have what he needs to achieve that goal.
He remembers. I must not be doing a bad job after all. And in his own way, maybe my dad wasn’t so bad after all either. I remember too.