Sixteen years ago I took on a job as a “catering assistant” at the Australian Film, TV and Radio School. (AFTRs).
It sounds fancy and although yes – I did get to waitress for a few movie premieres and celebrity luncheons, and I did get to meet a few Aussie film and TV stars, I was basically just a server in the school’s canteen. So it was nowhere near as glamorous as it sounds!
I had to drive almost ½ hour to get to work each morning and because I had to get there early enough to help set up for breakfast, I found myself in a position where I had to get up at 4:30 in the mornings. And if you know me well you are laughing right now because you know that early mornings are SO not my thing!
I am naturally a night owl and get a second wind most nights at around 10pm and I could go for hours, but most days – I am sluggish until about 11am when I finally start to wake up.
After a while working at AFTRs, I found that it became a little easier to get up so early the more that I did it. My body clock started to adjust itself and I became more disciplined in going to bed earlier at night because the simple facts were: I really wasn’t all that keen on this job at all, it wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life but the rent wasn’t going to pay itself and I needed to work.
So I had to choose to be thankful to even have a job at all considering my lack of experience in any field other than retail and hospitality.
So although the work was hard and often labour intensive and boring – the rewards at the end far outweighed the hard times so I stuck it out until something bigger and better came along.
And I can look back at this now and see similarities to this and my current vocation of raising my children who just happen to have autism. This wasn’t exactly the life that I would have chosen for myself nor was it how I had envisioned motherhood looking. But it is what it is and I can either accept it and make the most of what I have been given or I can whine and complain and be miserable where I am instead of just enjoying the moment and being thankful for what I do have rather than angry about what I do not.
Just like the early morning starts at AFTRs – there are many parts of this life that I hate. I am thankful for the job but not everything that goes with it. But I have come to realise that I am working towards the greater goal here – raising my kids to be awesome adults. So I take the good with the bad.
When people find out that I am raising two children on the autism spectrum, I’m often asked questions like: “How do you do it”. Which really seems like such a bizarre question to me. Because, I don’t think that I ‘do’ anything that any other mother doesn’t ‘do’ for their child.
I simply love my kids. Love is a verb and as I was taught in school: A verb is a doing word!
If you love – you do. Simple.
And mothers see the absolute best in their kids as well as the worst, but it is our ability to see past the bad to the very good that keeps us going and causes us to be willing to literally die for our kids. ASD or no ASD, we all see our kids in the same way. We don’t see them as anything but amazing. We are wired that way for a reason.
There is a story that occasionally does the rounds of a pregnant mother who asks her own mother: “What will I do if my child is ugly”
And the wise older lady replies: “Well you see; that’s the beauty of being a mother dear, – You won’t know”.
And wow, that is SO true. You are unable to see anything but the best in your kids. To you – they are beautiful and precious and perfect.
Just don’t get me wrong here: I am no different to anyone else in the sense that often times my kids bug me so much that I joke about giving them away, but I know that if anyone ANYONE trash talks my child, they deal with me and my steel capped boots.
I’m just like the rest of you. It’s that protective Mama bear that comes out when your offspring is under threat in any way.
But let me ask you – If you really love your child and you know that they struggle with a particular subject at school – do you ignore it and hope it will go away? Do you refuse to acknowledge it and keep up the pretense that they will be ok in the end and cross your fingers and wish really hard?
No, Of course you don’t. You invest your time and/or your money into getting them tutored to help them and you go out of your way to make things as painless as possible so that your child can reach their full potential.
And that’s exactly what I am ‘doing’.
So ask me again: How do I do it? – I don’t do, I just love.
The rest takes care of itself.