As my children get older, I have become more comfortable and confident in our parenting choices.
You see, to raise your children in a way that is completely opposite from the way in which you were raised takes a lot of determination. It is a huge leap of faith at times. There has been an incredible amount of self doubt and if I’m honest, a lot of anxiety. We aren’t privileged enough to have that scaffolding to fall back onto.
Since I am home most days with our children, we have a lot of time together. Beautiful time together that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. I do, at times, find myself getting caught up in the day to day stuff and am not always able to see the bigger picture, a larger scope of things.
I had a beautiful glimpse of this recently. One of my children is a passionate gamer. This child never played with toys, and still doesn’t have much interest in them, much more preferring the glorious possibilities they create online. We gifted this child some new computer games for the recent holiday. My husband is a much bigger gamer than I am, so I left the choices up to him.
After unwrapping gifts, our child came upstairs to the computer to check out the new games loaded. After previewing the games, there was one my child was uncomfortable with. I don’t think they said anything to my husband at this point, but just chose to play one of the other new games.
We had wanted to see the new Star Wars movie and had planned to go on Christmas Day. With a household abundant in executive functioning differences, the tickets weren’t booked ahead of time and all the screenings were sold out. I told my child we would be going to see it the next day and that’s when they started questioning me about the appropriateness of them seeing the Star Wars movie. I honestly hadn’t thought twice about it since we had seen the last Star Wars movie in the theater last year. But having them ask me about it gave me pause and we watched the trailer for it together. I asked them if they wanted to see the movie and they said not really as they felt it wasn’t age appropriate. They also told me at this time that one of the new PC games we had gifted them felt too scary and they didn’t want to play it.
I was completely blown away by their astuteness and maturity. Looking back on my own childhood, which was filled with arbitrary rules and little freedom, let alone trust in a child, I never, ever would have had the maturity to acknowledge such a thing. Quite the opposite, honestly. I told my child how wise it was to have this knowledge of themselves already and how happy and proud I was that they were listening to and honoring that. I told them a story of my childhood where my sibling and I, each year at Christmas time, would sneak into our parent’s bedroom and peek at our presents. Some years we were devious enough to unwrap them and re-wrap them with our parents none the wiser!
I was humbled that my child was able to share this with me. Spoken language isn’t something that has come easy for this child. To confide in me something so deep and big, has touched me very deeply and reminded me of the honor it is to parent them.
I don’t know how receptive I would have been to this 5 years ago. I was still working through a lot of my own stuff. I wasn’t aware of mine or my husband’s neurodivergencies. It hasn’t always been easy, but my child blessed me with a beautiful gift this week. Letting me know, in their own way, that we are doing right by them. Even if I do get too caught up in the day to day from time to time, they gifted me with a gentle reminder that all will be well.