Sunday, August 9, 2009

Thanks for That

So, I keep reading about how anger is about ego. It makes sense to me, and helps me think about how I want to be less angry. I want to let go of ego. I want to make peace. (Don't throw up. I mean it.)

Today I was thinking about this while I jogged, while I watched two delicate hummingbirds off to my left dancing among flowers and honeysuckle on the bike path, and how can you not want to be less angry when you see something like that? While you are smelling the honeysuckle and you have your headphones on and the breeze is blowing?

Have you ever seen someone -- like an ABA practitioner, for instance -- respond to attacks or annoyances by thanking the offender? I have seen this a few times, most recently when my son kept halfheartedly swatting at his ABA guy JT, and each time JT said, "Thanks! Are you trying to high five me? Thanks. Now let's read a book. Thanks, let's read..." It didn't take long to work on the Rooster; he soon read the book and stopped his attention-getting negative behavior. I learned from that, and it stuck with me. I have realized, for one thing, that you can disarm an angry person by thanking them. For another, it doesn't do any good to get angry back sometimes. You, I mean I, need to take things less personally. Saying thanks helps with that.

So while I might be notoriously pissed off at autism, I decided that I would like to let go of some of my anger, and that, since autism seems pretty pissed at me, too, I would like to actually thank autism for a few things.

Autism, in fact, has given me some gifts, and therefore I would like to thank autism for:

- community. I really appreciate the friends near and far, both huggable and only in cyberspace, that I never would have had if not for the diagnosis. Even my husband, who mostly hears of many of my new friends secondhand, feels the blessings of the connections.
- patience. Not that I have much, but I've learned how to find some when I really need it. I might have mentioned, but I used to have a magnet that said, "Lord, give me patience. And hurry it up." I'm a little bit better since then. (Yes, I am.) Yeah, I still have a long way to go.
- healthier eating. I am not a huge biomedical follower, but we do a little, and we believe that changing the Roo's diet helped him. As we did so, we certainly learned a great deal more about the value to all people of more organic foods, fewer preservatives, and conscious eating. Hey, Peaches still loves her some pop tarts, but now they cost us a fortune at Whole Foods! And we actually feel a little better about it. I'm just saying.
- jogging. For a long time, I HATED jogging. HATED it. But then, as things got worse and worse at my house, it seemed like the one thing I could justify escaping in the evenings to go do, while J watched the kids. Lately, I've escaped some miserable witching hour meltdowns to go "work out" for a half hour or so, and let me tell you, the things I used to hate about jogging are delightful to me now by comparison. Autism, you know how to help me burn the calories, bud; high five! (Oooh, that's kind of ego related too, isn't it?)
- help with Scramble. I keep finding the word "casein" and I never even knew that word before autism came along. I'm racking up the points! (I really will keep working on that ego thing. It's a marathon, not a sprint.)

Hey, autism? Thanks. I still don't like you. I still think you suck. But, thanks.


redheadmomma said...

LOVE THIS!!!! thank you so much for making me smile this morning. And exercising to get away from the witching hour? BRILLIANT! XO R

jess wilson said...

the one i add to my own list is compassion - i look so differently at other people now - and find that i am far less judgmental than i once was. among the challenges there are gifts indeed. thank YOU for the reminder.

pixiemama said...

Hey, stomach bug - thanks for cycling around and around my family, usually at night, so I can remember to enjoy sleep when I actually get it. And thanks for reminding my that my life doesn't suck all the time, at least not as much as it sucks when I am cleaning up bodily excretions in the middle of the night.

Anonymous said...

Oooohhh, like this. I'm going to try the thanking thing with C. And I like your list. There are definitely gifts.