Month: January 2017

Sorry seems to be the hardest word …

 

In my last blog post I wrote about forgiveness … well, my ability to forgive has certainly been put to the test lately and it turns out I’ve a very nasty habit of resisting forgiveness when Mr GG or one of the Junior GGs are hurt by someone.

 

I honestly don’t understand why, so often, our world seeks to ridicule and take advantage of those who are different.  I speak about autism in our family often, I’m not ashamed of it, not in the least, rather I take delight in having the opportunity to see the world through the eyes of my children.  I maybe wouldn’t have chosen this path for their lives (or mine if I’m totally honest) but this is the path we’re on and, from day one, Mr GG and I have taught the boys that there is nothing they can’t do … maybe their path to success will be different, or even longer, than others but they can do anything.

 

From pretty much the beginning of my oldest son’s life I’ve known he was autistic … as a teeny baby he wouldn’t make eye contact but rather look just to the side of our faces.  He was happy and friendly and anyone who spoke to him was greeted with a huge, gummy smile but the eye contact wasn’t there.  I remember those days so clearly … he was a jumble of inconsistencies really … he was incredibly sociable and loved being with people but he wouldn’t make eye contact, he didn’t sit until he was well over 9 months but was commando crawling from 5 months.  He reached milestones for walking and talking but Mr GG and I never had a typical parent/child conversation with him … his first word was ‘bath’!  And when other little ones his age were learning animal noises he was learning the alphabet and barking ecstatically at pigeons. I was never able to set my boy down without him taking off at a run … outings with friends were torture as they sat and played with their children while I spent all my time racing about trying to catch mine. 

 

I look back at that time as one of the loneliest times of my life.  I knew deep in my heart that my son was autistic, but no one heard me so I carried it around with me as a nasty little secret chewing me up inside, all the while trying, desperately, to fit in with the folks around me.  I’m so thankful that those days are past and that there’s no secret anymore … and I’m thankful too for those tough days, for they gave me a strength and determination to work with and for my boys to give them the same opportunities as anyone else.

 

So, anyway, back to forgiveness, it turns out that my boy has been being bullied again … maybe it doesn’t seem like bullying to the other folks involved but to me, taking advantage of the innocent, accepting nature of someone in order to mock and ridicule them online is most definitely bullying.  We sat together as a family and talked it all through, talking about how folks make mistakes and sometimes regret what they’ve done.  We talked about forgiveness and that’s when it hit me … I’m cross, I’m angry and I’m finding it really hard to practise what I preach.  I hate that my amazing lad who takes people at face value has been so hurt and yes, he has been.  This is the first time that I’ve seen him truly struggle for more than a day or so … he keeps asking about it and cannot understand why someone who knew him so well would hurt him so badly.  My heart breaks for him and I’m finding it hard to forgive.  I’m working on it, but, to my shame, I’m definitely not there yet.

 

Maybe it’s timely that the focus of the Love Dare for Parents today is ‘love takes responsibility’, talking about being honest about our mistakes with our children.  Asking our children to forgive us when we let them down, when we’re sharp-tempered and crabby and take it out on them (I’m, oh, so guilty) and encouraging us to be humble enough to admit our sins and mistakes to the very people we are trying to parent.

 

A few weeks ago a lovely friend tagged me in a post on Facebook … it was a link to a new book that will be published soon called “Different”.  The book is written by Sally Clarkson and her son Nathan Clarkson who is described as an ‘outside the box kid’ … I can’t wait to read it!  

 

After pre-ordering the book I had a look at some of the other books Sally Clarkson has written and was struck by one called “Desperate” which she has written with Sarah Mae.  I’ve just finished reading it and I’d totally recommend it to any mum who is feeling overwhelmed (I’ve yet to meet a mum who has never had the experience of feeling overwhelmed and ill-equipped for her role).  I found it refreshing to read of the experiences of other mothers … one who’s children are still little and another who’s children are grown and, mostly, gone from home.  It’s given me pause for thought, that’s for sure, and a book I’ll be referring back to from time to time.

 

One key thing that struck me as I read was a chapter entitled “Taming the beast of housework” … I felt challenged and convicted as I read and realised that I’m so much in danger of focussing on keeping a tidy house while forgetting that I really want to be creating a homely home.  I’m trying hard to shift my focus and realise that this is something I need to ask Mr GG and the Junior GGs to forgive me for.  My home is, by no means, immaculate but it’s a home and I’m learning to be content

 

So, a few days ago, I had to talk with Mr GG and the Juniors and ask them to forgive me for putting more emphasis on what other people think of our home rather than concentrate on making it a warm, inviting, comforting place for the people that live in it. 

 

I spoke with Son No1 and confessed my lack of forgiveness for what’s happened to him and asked him to forgive me for not practising what I preach.  I’ve spoken to him so much about forgiving those who have hurt him and I realise now I’ve not given him a good example to follow.

 

I have made a point of trying to catch myself when I’m being distracted by housey stuff and not giving attention to my boys, I’ve tried to keep a short account with them and, straight away, ask them to forgive me when I’m not being fair, or I’m being sharp, or just not the parent they deserve.

 

And you know what?  It’s not easy but it feels good, and I’m totally humbled by how forgiving my wonderful family is.  Blessed indeed.

 

 

 

Forgive and forget

And just like that we’re back into the routine of school and work.  I find January a strange month … I struggle to get used to the Junior GGs being back at school and miss their company so very much (including that of Mr GG, I’d hate him to feel left out).  However, the February holiday is not so very far away now and, if my maths is right (which is doubtful) there are only 22 more school mornings to get up until they arrive.

As usual, life in GGHQ has been helter-skelter with rare dull moments hidden amongst the mayhem.  The weekend flew past in a flurry of mud and muddy walks (and a migraine for poor old Mr GG).  On Saturday morning we tried to clear and create some order in the new part of our garden … the outcome is that it looks a lot worse but I’m consoling myself that it’s a work in progress. 

January also brings the anniversary of the first of our babies born straight to heaven.  January 10th is the date that stands out in my mind and is the day that I generally remember, give thanks for, and often, have a wee cry about the four babies we didn’t have the chance to meet.  I’m thankful that they will never suffer pain or heartache and look forward to, one day, being reunited with them.  I’m thankful too that through the heartache God taught me to rely on him more and to trust that he had a plan.  I’m thankful every day for the three babies that were born into our home, the Junior GGs who fill my life with laughter, hugs, tears, obsessions and laundry … you can never forget the laundry!

So the Love Dare for today was all about forgiveness.  All three boys have been brought up learning about forgiveness … if one hurts another (it happens!) then when the guilty party apologises the injured party will tell them they forgive them.  They don’t always find it easy to forgive, especially if someone has wiped their progress on a game but they always manage to even if it’s grudging at first. 

The challenge today is the first one that I’ve not really seen the point in … maybe that’s a failing on my part, I’m not sure.  The dare is to search my heart and write down my childrens’ names and, basically, a list of things they’ve done wrong before praying through it and asking for the grace to forgive.  I can’t see what’s helpful in doing that.  When one of the boys does something wrong it’s dealt with and forgotten, forgiven at the time. 

Maybe this is a challenge that, for me, would work better outwith my family … I actively try not to hold on to grudges but I have to admit, it’s not always easy to forgive … especially when someone hurts Mr GG or one of the Juniors!  So, for the rest of today that’ll be my focus, I’ll let you know how it goes …

Holiday fun …

The Christmas holidays are over today for Mr GG … back to work with a thump for him!  Thankfully, his day was short and he was home mid-afternoon which was lovely.  The Junior GGs and I wrapped up and braced the cold (it seemed to be bitterly cold today) and went for a walk at one of their favourite places … it’s usually quiet and generally there are only a few dog-walkers around so even my most anxious Junior GG feels content in the knowledge that there will be no surprises.

We had a fruitless hunt in the shed for wellingtons before we left but they couldn’t be found so the boys were instructed to stay on the path and not walk on the sandy, muddy, rocky wetness!  After much pleading my resolve weakened … after all, shoes can be dried, clothes can be washed and muddy boys can be showered … I’d much rather see them clambering about and chatting about their finds.  Mind you, Son No2, as always, took it a little too far and was spied walking ankle deep in water … he never changes!  There’s no point getting annoyed about it, as I said just a minute ago, everything washes and I know that he loves water and mud … the beach is his most perfect place.  Give him his due, he didn’t complain about being uncomfortable until we got nearly home when he just said “Mum, you know, my feet are feeling quite cold” … an understatement I’d imagine!

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Son No1 took the opportunity to do some Pokemon hunting so there was lots of good-natured teasing about how great company he was.  There was much excitement however at the discovery of a Dratini, a Clefairy, an Abra and a Mankey – no idea what that means but he was a happy boy!

So, today’s subject for the Love Dare is one very close to my heart.  Prayer.  Specifically, praying for our children.  I pray often for the boys throughout each day.  Maybe it’s because I’m a bit of a chatter anyway but I find it quite natural to talk to God throughout the day about the boys and tell him when I’m worrying about things.  I’ve often told the boys that I thank God for them every day and it’s true, even the days that leave me wanting to run off to the hills, I give thanks for my wee family.

There’s no room for me to be complacent though, I’m well aware that I fail so often in how I pray my boys, yes I give thanks for them and yes, I talk to God about them but I’ve so much to learn in how I pray for them and what I pray for them.  Today’s dare is about teaching me as Mum how to pray more effectively for my children … I can’t say it’s one that I’ve completed, I’ve so much more to learn, but it’s one I’m happy to be working on in the days ahead and one I’m excited about.

Just before I head off and give you all peace … I made a New Year Resolution this year … and I’m wanting to record it here so I’m not allowed to forget.  I’ve resolved that we’ll aim to go out for a walk as a family every day … Day 2 and we’re still on track 🙂