When I chose grateful as my Word of the Year 2012, I knew it would be a challenge. Trying to be grateful when life continues to throw skull-cracking curveballs is far from easy. Most days I call it good if I make it to bedtime without cursing everyone and everything in my path with a terminal case of armpit fleas. I realize now that most of that attitude stemmed from my personal biochemistry, feeding off of stressful situations and running amuk, and I’m actively trying to get out of that mental Möbius strip. So grateful has been far more of a challenge than I anticipated.
But being grateful for the details of our lives keeps us sane, relieves stress (so I’ve been told…still working on that), and reminds us that for every pitch-black cloud there is a silver lining hiding in there somewhere. One of my biggest stressors is A. He is the most amazing kid, but parenting him is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done…and I popped out his brother sans drugs. How do I find the silver lining in the very thing that causes me the greatest stress? It seems that every moment brings another frustration, every experience yet another (often painful) learning opportunity, every activity an exercise in patience. I have had friends assure me that things will likely even out as he nears puberty, and I truly hope that is the case, ’cause right now tween attitude + 2e + my whackadoodle biochemistry = where’s that damned silver lining?
I know it’s there, I just need reminding. So I asked on the Laughing at Chaos Facebook page, “If you have a twice-exceptional kiddo, what about the whole shebang are you grateful for?” And lo, the responses came, mostly grateful for the lens through which their kids made them see the world. That particular lens in my arsenal is still slightly out of focus, but being fine tuned daily. After asking that question last week, I’ve been struggling to answer it myself. It is easier than I care to admit to find the frustrations of raising a 2e kid – I could talk for hours about that – but the silver lining? It’s been hiding.
But search I did, and finally found my answer. I’m grateful that my twice-exceptional kid has given me a greater compassion for the hidden struggles parents endure. I judge others so much less because I don’t know what hell they may be living behind that tired smile. Strangely though, I also have a lot less patience for those who snidely comment on the choices other parents make without knowing (or caring) why those often difficult choices were made. Someday I’m sure I’ll say something (I only hope I can keep it polite); for now I keep my mouth shut and just let my respect for the commenter drip away. I realize that increased compassion/decreased patience & respect may be mutually exclusive; I accept that, I’m only human.
I found one little thread of the silver lining, which leads me to believe there is more in there somewhere. I know the challenges of parenting a 2e kid must have more silver lining than I have found so far, and I’ll continue searching. I’m embarrassed it took me a week to find that one little thread.