Well, that was good while it lasted. The healthy spell, that is.
We are back to fighting colds and infections. And fighting frustration over surrendering my plans and solid sleep again. Argh.
This week, I shared our story with a few moms new to the world of parenting special needs. I've done this a number of times in semi-professional settings, and it is moving to hear and be forever affected by the conversations that follow. We talked about the difficulty in surrendering - the challenge in moving to accept reality.
The conversation reminded me of a book that everyone ought to read, parent or no parent. It's called Far From the Tree by Andrew Solomon - and it is an amazing book. Solomon has taken years of research and has shared the stats via stories of parents raising children so different from themselves, so far from the proverbial tree.
There are scads of parenting books and sites out there, cute mommy blogs and mags that sometimes not-intentionally blind us into thinking we can control/create our relationships with our children and our family. Not so. Solomon's book highlights the two parts of a person - the vertical identity (passed down from generations) and the horizontal identity (absorbed from peers, culture, and self-awareness). Sometimes those identities blend well, and other times, they clash.
One of the big questions that is threaded through Solomon's chapters is the idea of normal. Has culture created an idea of normal that prevents us from seeing the beauty in what is then abnormal? Are we too quick to find ways to "fix" our kids when they don't fit that definition of normal?
It's a fascinating read. It's also a long read. I don't think my local library has finished tallying up my fine for overdue reading... Oops.
I didn't think that my kids who don't fit the "norm" would teach me so much about myself and my identity. I have been challenged more than once to consider my own stereotypes and version of normal. Surrendering my plans and my idea of normal creates a feeling of vulnerability -but also freedom. Freedom to love and learn from a broken world that still belongs to and is loved by God.
Here's hoping this sick spell isn't long-lasting. Here's hoping you read or visit Far From the Tree.
No matter how calmly you try to referee, parenting will eventually produce bizarre behaviour, and I'm not talking about the kids. Their behaviour is always normal. -Bill Cosby