I've had a bit of a hard week. I got some new information on Snap, my beautiful 17 year old daughter. She's got autism, which I knew, but what I didn't know is she also has non-verbal learning disability. I'm massively proud of her, now that I know what she's been facing, and how she's managed to do as well as she has. What's hard is that the gist of everything I've read is, "Parenting: Luna is doing it wrong". I know I can't really get too mad at myself. I've been doing the best I can with the information I had. But I'm also having a lot of moments of what if. What if I'd pushed harder with the pediatrician who told me I was spoiling her, and that her problems were entirely my fault? What if I'd insisted that my doctor refer us to someone else? What if I'd pushed the school harder to get her tested earlier? What if?! She's 17. She's got some of the issues the articles say will happen if she's not handled properly. And of course, she wasn't, because we didn't know. And there seems to be no information about what to do next. The expert advice is seriously lacking. And the information for adults with it is almost non-existent.
I'm getting much better at not worrying about what if. I used to really get hung up on that. But it doesn't help. Doesn't help me. Doesn't help her. And who knows what if, anyway? Maybe not a damn thing would be different. Maybe it'd be different, but not better. Maybe it would be worse. I don't bloody know. So I'm not doing that. As much.
And you know, I'm not giving up on her. Snap is awesome. Clearly. The fact that she's going to graduate from high school with her full diploma, with just the little support that she's gotten (tests in quiet rooms, extended deadlines, extra resource blocks, etc.) shows that she is amazing. And she's planning to go to college. Current plan is Camosun's university transfer course, with a transfer over to UVic's Women's Studies program in a couple of years. SO PROUD. I'm bursting with pride for her.
Doesn't mean she doesn't drive me crazy. She's 17. But I'm understanding her a bit better now, and that is really helping my happiness levels. It's much easier to be happy when I'm not holding on to judgements like "my parenting sucks" or "she's a lazy teenager" or "if she just cared more about X, she'd do Y". Um, nope. Turns out her brain is wired differently. And suddenly, it's easier for me to be happy with her. Isn't that interesting? Nothing about her has changed. And suddenly, I'm happier with her. Because I have new information? Sort of. The new information gave me what I needed to change my beliefs about her. But I could have done that without it. I could have just decided that she was doing her best with what she had, and been a happy camper. And I didn't see that until now. It's really kind of an awesome power to have. I can simply change what I believe about people, and be happy. What would it matter if I were wrong? What if my kid was just lazy and I decided she was doing her best? Would that mean I wouldn't still try to help her best be even better? No. It wouldn't really affect how I'd try to help her. It would only change my attitude toward it.
I'm going to try doing that with some other people in my life. Let's see how that works out!