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The Long Game of Parenting

Long Game Feat

Often, to me, it feels like raising children can be likened to playing a long game.

Solid parenting seems to be an exhausting process of doing “all the right things” and then having hope that we will see the fruits of our many labored years down the road.

Sure, there are hints along the path that we’re heading in the right direction. Although, it will be decades before we really know if all of the encouragement, guiding, talking, showing, loving and repeating things ad nauseam (“hands are not for hitting!”) has been successful in shaping our little humans into even better big humans.

I think that when autism is in the mix, the necessary labors increase, and often we have to drastically shift what we are hoping for.

Even as I typed the last sentence tears pricked in my eyes and my heart jumped into my throat.

Those shifts are painful.

They feel like letting go of a dream.

Like another source of isolation. They leave jagged wounds that develop gnarly scar tissue that serves as a frequent, and painful, reminder of what has been excised.

I feel myself trying to work up to confronting a new one of those right now.

It feels very much like taking another one of my hopes and dreams for my son and carefully wrapping it up in a neat little package, and gently setting it up on a high shelf, behind a locked door, and hoping that I can somehow forget it was ever a thing.

So many unknowns.

So many concerns for his future.

So many concerns for his present.

I will choose a new thing to hope for.

It’s a long game.

I think we’re on a good path. So we look for hope where it can be found, and we seize every moment of joy.

Like this one from yesterday. We were at a trampoline park, and there’s an obstacle that neither of my boys can quite do, but it has this huge crash pad at the bottom that they are obsessed with.

 They figured out a way to work cooperatively and build a stairway to get themselves up on it. “Take our picture, mom! You like that we figured out how to get up here?”

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Rebekah Holmes

Rebekah (she/her) lives in central Indiana with her husband, two sons, and two cats. She staunchly believes that true acceptance of autism will only be possible if there is true awareness, so she has committed to spilling her truth all over the internet in pursuit of that goal. Rebekah recently retired from two decades of teaching piano, voice, and guitar, and has been happily puttering around her house while figuring out what comes next. You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok under the handle The Holmes Team.

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