Sunday, January 20, 2008

Noticing

I just have to get something off my chest. I've talked about it a little bit, but I purposely haven't said what I've needed to say because I didn't want to sound petty, judgemental, gossipy, overly-sensitive, etc. But, I just can't seem to get it off my mind. I know I need to blog about it so I can move past it, so here goes.

Last week at church, I had a woman come up to me and mention that she has "noticed that my son has special needs." It was one of those situations where I was just so stunned by the comment that I didn't quite know how to respond. I won't go into details, but the situation has resolved itself without confrontation, for which I am grateful.

First of all, I know that this woman didn't intentionally mean to offend. It was seriously just the most bizarre conversation I've ever had though. My good friend, Molly, was on bed rest two years ago with her third child, who died after having lived just two weeks. I have rarely seen anyone with as much strength and faith as she displayed during her time on bed rest. I visited her often, and during one of our visits, she just had to get some things off her chest. People say the strangest things to you when you are going through a trial, and a lot of people said downright ridiculous things to her. The reality was that they just didn't fully understand her situation, and Molly knew that. I think of that conversation often when people say really strange things. Even though it hurt, I know it wasn't said with intentional malice.

Having said that, it still hurt to my core. My heart just drops into my stomach whenever I think about it. It drives me crazy that people "notice" my son. And I don't know many people that would ever come up to me and be that blunt about it. Then, in all my insecurity, I start wondering how many other people have "noticed" but haven't said anything. It's just so hard for me that he stands out. At church today, he really wasn't that out of control. His teacher didn't show up for Singing Time/Sharing Time, so he and his class were alone. And there were other kids in his class that were being a little rowdy. But, I was so cognizant of his behavior, because I knew I couldn't take another comment like the one last week. He was blurting out answers, climbing all over his chair, stomping his feet, etc. I was just so aware of his behavior. I really just can't figure this out rationally. I'm too emotionally involved to analyze the situation.

I read a blog about a little boy with Asbergers, and I greatly appreciate it. I don't know his mother, but I hope to meet her one day and tell her how inspiring her entries are. Austin has never been diagnosed with Asbergers, but he does show signs and some similarities. More than a couple of people have mentioned to me that they think he might have it. It is so hard for me to figure out. Is his behavior just because he's a boy? I don't know. I've never had a boy, or really been around boys that much. Will he just "grow out of it"? Or, is something really wrong? Should I have more tests done and insist that doctor's dig deeper? If something comes up, what do we do about it? Do I put him on medication? That kind of stuff scares me to death! Do I just keep praying and trying to teach him cause and affect? Do I do what Grandma Morgan recommends (thanks for the reminder, Kim) and just love him so much more deeply?

We are going to Rexburg tomorrow to go to the Temple Open House, so I was telling the kids about it. Macy thought she was going to see Greg and I get married. After much conversation about the fact that we already are married, I decided to show her our wedding video. As a result, Greg put some old home videos on after the kids went to bed. We watched some of Austin's Blessing Day. How much did we love that little baby! It just breaks my heart to see how he had just captured our hearts from Day 1. He was two months old, and Greg was still giddy to be around him (Greg does all the video recording and narration). I have to get that back! I have to love him totally unconditionally no matter what! He is this person who can't stop moving, and it makes me crazy sometimes, but I can't let that get in the way of giving him and showing him the love he deserves. Maybe I was just so affected by that comment because I believe it and it's hard for me to deal with.

After all my rambling, I've decided something this past week. I am done "noticing" negative things in other people! I am only going to "notice" the positive. It doesn't do any good for me to make an observation about another person's flaws. They know what they are, and they certainly don't need me pointing it out, even if I try to do it in a seemingly harmless way. If I have ever said anything to anyone that was insensitive and offended you, I sincerely apologize. I expect all of you to help me keep this promise: I will only notice the positive in other people!

Thanks for listening (as always)!

12 comments:

Paige, Lorin & Polly said...

I think you are the last person I would ever think of that would "judge" another, although I know we are all guilty of it. I have really always looked up to you & how you raise your kids. It's a great example to me! As busy as you are with family & callings you always took the time to say hi or make a nice comment about Polly. Now that we aren't in the ward (& miss it!) I look forward to your blog entries & when you leave comments on mine. Thanks!

Kimberly Porter said...

Emily, I think that you and me are much alike. That's another reason that I enjoy reading your blog!

I am so sorry that someone said something to you about Austin. I know how self-conscious you are about his behavior, anyway. I would think and do the same things that you are. I know that, for me, when I get something in my head, I'm "sure" that's the problem.

When Josh was born, he had a little head and I convinced myself---for months!---that he had microcephaly. He doesn't, and he's perfectly normal, which I am so grateful for---but I'm not sure whether Austin has Aspberger's or not.

IF he does, what would they do differently? Or would he just be labeled so that you (and him) have an excuse for his rowdy behavior?

Maybe you can use the suggestions (you can probably find them in a book or on the net) for Aspberger's without having to go through all the tests and see if it helps.

OR better yet, you can just ignore people's comments and chalk it up to him being a very intelligent boy with a lot of extra energy. :)

You're an amazing mom, Emily. I think as long as Austin knows he is loved unconditionally by you and Greg, he will turn out to be an incredible man.

My husband, Ryan, had "a lot of energy" when he was a kid and got into a lot of trouble, too. Austin reminds me a lot of stories I've heard about his childhood. He was never diagnosed or labeled (and I think he would've been) and I think in the long-run, it would've hurt him and he wouldn't have been the wonderful, brilliant man that he is today.

But that's just my opinion. My love goes out to you.

Elizabeth said...

I feel bad that people say things when they are so unaware. It has happened to me too. It is something that is very hard to move past sometimes. I'm sad because I don't like when people "label" from afar without even knowing the situation. I will join you on your quest to try to not ever do this and only see the positive. I think kids this age are active. Tyler is! All the other boys that are Austin's age are too except for a few. There was a lady that gave a talk in our ward a while ago that married when she was older and then they waited for a while to have kids. She said that she used to look around the congregation and swear that she would never have a boy because they were like animals. Of course she had a boy and he was an animal and then he grew up. I am rambling. Know that I am thinking of you and if you want you could give me that lady's address so I can have her toilet papered. Just kidding....sort of.

Amber said...

Either because of Austin, or in spite of him, you are a wonderful mother. I've always admired and tried to emulate you. I laugh when I think of Paige and me, two brand new moms, being your visiting teachers. I can't speak for Paige, but I know you taught me more than I ever could have taught you!

If only everyone had your resolve to reserve judgement and withhold criticism- the world would be a much happier place. I've learned from experience that it's impossible to judge someone unless you completely understand their situation- which is impossible to do unless you've lived it. I used to watch people with their kids and think, I'll NEVER let my kids act that way, or I'll NEVER do that with my kids, and then I had one of my own. My whole perspective changed. So just hang in there- even if you don't judge, other people are bound to. Just console yourself by picturing their punishment in the afterlife!

Greg said...

I appreciate all of your comments since Emily has a hard time listening to me say similar things. This lady in our ward is a quack to the core anyway. Nothing she ever says is worth listening to. Austin is a normal boy learning how to channel his energy. He has a great big heart, determined soul, huge imagination, contagious smile, and wonderful mind. Asperger-smishsmashberger… I know you love him but have to realize that he is 110% boy.

Colette said...

Emily I have to agree with Greg. Kyle & I taught Austin for a year in our Primary class and not once did we think that anything was wrong with him. He's just a boy! We loved him. I think you're a great mom. I remember the day when you brought him to our house to bring us a treat because you were practicing how to greet people....it was the cutest thing ever. Only really great moms would take that much time and effort to teach there children. You're an inspiration.

Kimberly Porter said...

I agree with Greg. Austin is perfectly normal! Just shrug it off. People need to stop being so judgemental to others. It's a great idea to only look at the positive. A very great reminder of how to be more Christlike.

Paige, Lorin & Polly said...

P.S. I just read your comment on my blog...Dora DOES yell all the time! I didn't notice either. Along with Colette, we never though Austin stood out in any negative sort of way during primary & although I felt inferior to be your visiting teacher, I loved it & enjoyed talking to you about your family life & it was a great help being a new mom...which I technically still am. :) (That was a huge run-on sentence there!)

Jen said...

You already know I feel about this lady...and you know how amazing I think Austin is. He really is. That child will go very very far in life! Better a huge personality that a boring one. :)

Jen said...

thaN... I mean

Emily said...

Thank you! I love you all!

Kristy said...

Hey Emily, it's Kristy! I was getting caught up on your blog and I noticed that you mentioned another mother's blog whose boy has Asperger's. Is her name Lindsay? She's my sis-in-law and she is so great. I KNOW she would love to hear from you and talk to you. Leave a comment on my blog if Lindsay is the mom you were talking about and you guys could email or something. Seriously, she would love to hear from you.