Swan Mothers

Discovering Ourselves through Parenting

Autism Heals Me

“Children on the autism spectrum are given space to grow at their own pace. There is no forcing them to do anything. I have taken this to heart. I have learned to accept my processes, even if at some point I thought they were wrong or not good enough. These children have healed me of judging myself, of comparing myself to other women, they have shown me the importance of silence. They have given me space to create. So many children on the autism spectrum have creative gifts, they are amazing artists, singers, and creatives. They have gifts, and they have made me shine the line on my own gifts.” Well said, Shane!

Your Beautiful Child

On Your Beautiful Child Radio I have asked many guests “what does autism mean to you,” There were many answers. My answer is FREEDOM. Today the official Autism Awareness Day.  I realize how deeply this answer rings true.    Because of autism, I have a work schedule I create, I have traveled and connected with amazing families, I have purpose and passion in my life, I have permission to create and just be.

My first student (with autism)  was non-verbal and had many “stimming” repetitive behaviors and echolalia.  I began to see a young boy do whatever he needed and wanted to do to make himself happy. He was not offfected by the judgements  of others. He did not follow what was “appropriate.” He was also not impressed with my cool toys, my happy smile or my eagerness to work with him. He could not naturally be re-directed or manipulated…

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Making Your Own Lucky Day

Irish history is filled with difficult times that make the heart weep:  invasion, colonization, exploitation, starvation. Does this suggest that the Luck of Irish is bad luck?

Or, does the phrase “Luck of the Irish” have its origin in the days of the Wild West (in the United States) when many Irish people struck it rich during the Gold Rush or were prosperous in silver mining? Sadly, this metallically auspicious time has a shadow.  Many non-Irish Americans of those days didn’t think the Irish were capable of success through intelligence or hard work, so they attributed the accomplishments of the Irish to luck.

What do you think?  Are some people just lucky, while others are not?

Dictionary.com Says

luck [luhk]

noun

1.  the force that seems to operate for good or ill in a person’s life, as in shaping circumstances, events, or opportunities: With my luck I’ll probably get pneumonia.
 
2.  good fortune; advantage or success, considered as the result of chance: He had no luck finding work.
 

Creating Reality

Lucky me! I have children who are anything but normal. If they were normal, they would have been subject to living slightly improved replicas of my and my husband’s life.

Because my children are not mini-mes or mini-their-daddys, they get to live their own lives. And, their magnificent uniqueness has made me a better me.

Lucky Mothers of Unusual Kids

Rhonda K. Welling posted the following on my Facebook Page and gave me permission to share.  I read similar stories almost daily:  Mothers who, at first, feel unlucky because their children have autism, or ADHD, or a hearing disability, or extreme crankiness, become grateful for the children and lives they have.

Before my son, I lived a life I wasn’t proud of. I took a lot, and I mean a lot, of things for granted. When Anthony was diagnosed with autism, I honestly didn’t know anything about autism and was one of them people who thought I never had to worry about it cause I would never have to deal with it.

My son taught me to look at the world through the eyes of a child with autism. He taught me not to take the small things for granted, for example, rain, sand, grass, trees, clouds. Not to ever take for granted the words a child speaks to you. He actually stopped talking for 2 years. And 3 years after his diagnosis, he said “Anthony love mama this much” and he stretched out his little arms as far as they would go. Just them few words changed my life forever. I didn’t see autism at that point. I seen what a beautiful boy I was blessed with.

You have no idea how much it annoys me to hear someone tell their child to be quiet or even worse..shut up because what these people don’t think about is sometimes they do. I missed hearing his voice, hearing his laugh, seeing his smile.

He is 8 years old now and he has taught me to see beauty in the small things, including autism. It’s amazing to me that they say parents teach their kids, but I think in a true sense Anthony has taught me more then I could ever learn from some book. He has taught me unconditional love and acceptance of everyone and everything around me.

Becoming the Force

“You get what you get and you don’t get upset,” children learn to chant in kindergarten.

The truth is, we do get upset. We grieve. We rage. We yell at our children. We also heal, change, and evolve. We become the Force in our children’s lives, in our own lives, and in the world.

“The force is an energy field created by all living things, it surrounds us, it penetrates us, it binds the galaxy together.” Obi-Wan to Luke

I became the Force in my life by learning about and using homeopathic remediestapping on my meridian points, and embracing ideas that, at one time, would have been unimaginable for me. I evinced my role as the Conscious Creator of my life.

How are you unleashing the Force in Your Life?

I’d love to know.  Leave a comment or send me a note. Or stop by the Swan Mothers’ Group and start a conversation.  You are not alone.

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Stop Combating People

Photo 26Before I had children and early in the parenting journey, I thought it was my job to mold my children into kind, intelligent, and self-sufficient beings. That they would speak properly, have good table manners, be polite, and do well at school was presumed, a baseline. These were my assumptions before autism rocked my world, before one child was diagnosed autistic, before I realized the other two were anything by typical. Diagnosis and confusing-to-me behaviors did not immediately change my perception. I simply resolved to work harder to mold my children into the kind, polite, intelligent, and self-sufficient beings they were supposed to be.

I ALWAYS loved my children. I always strove to be the mother they needed. I did my best to be patient and supportive. But I did believe that it was my job to make them be/act/appear as normal as possible. For me, normal meant following the rules of society, exercising self-control, learning, and growing. I did not believe my goals for them were harmful. I believed it was my mother-duty to raise children who fit in, because that’s what my life experiences had taught me was correct.

As time went on, my understanding shifted. I watched my children. I embraced what made them smile and rejected that which caused them pain. I read amazing books that revealed a new way to look beyond the face value of “behaviors” and “traits.” I discovered something wonderful where others saw misbehavior and dysfunction.

Finally, c. 2008, I wrote this in my journal:

Last week I had an Ah-ha! moment. I realized I need to stop trying to fix my children. I love them with all of their sometimes challenging traits — but I have, for a long time, been on a mission to minimize those quirks. For now, I need to let them be — as important for me as for them.

A short while later, I picked up a book in which the first chapter was titled “The World Needs Autism.” Reading these words was affirmation of my realization.

A later journal entry: I have long known that there is a purpose for autism. I am slowly muddling through what that purpose is. I believe that everything is evolving perfectly and the purpose is being served — even if I don’t understand it.

It took me a long time to get here. (I tell the story of my parenting journey, and those of many other mothers, in Swan Mothers.) I still get plenty of opportunity to practice. Many resources that are available today, specifically, blogs written by autistic adults, were not available when I started this journey, so I continue to uncover new layers of understanding. I still want my children to be kind, polite, intelligent, and self-sufficiency beings, but I want them to be these things while being fully themselves.

Don’t go changing, to try & please me
You never let me down…
I couldn’t love you any better
I love you just the way you are
(with apologies to Billy Joel)

stopcombatingme8This post is my contribution to the #StopCombatingMe Flashblog

What is it?

A flashblog is a day when a group of people share their thoughts about a single topic.

Why?

To tell Congress to reform the Combating Autism Act or to let it expire.  Sign the petition and learn more here: http://action.autisticadvocacy.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=10412

Why Reform the Act?

My friend S.R. Salas explains that here.

 

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What I Wish I’d Been Made Aware of When My Daughter Was Diagnosed With Autism

A great list by Ariane Zurcher that describes what I wish I’d known in the early days (years). My journey to discovering these truths is in the Swan Mothers book.

Emma's Hope Book

What follows are some of the things I wish I’d been told (and given) when we learned Emma was Autistic.  These are the things, in retrospect, I wish all those doctors, specialists, pediatricians, therapists and people who dedicate their lives and careers to autism had told me, but did not.  I believe our lives would have changed dramatically had we been told even a few of these things.  It is my hope that for those of you who may be at the beginning of your journey with an Autistic child, this list might help you avoid some of the many, many mistakes we made and a great deal of unnecessary pain.

1.  Seek out the work of Autistic people ~ most of the work I’ve listed was not available when my daughter was diagnosed, but it is now.  Take advantage of all that is out there, these people are leading…

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Beyond Labels: Lessons from Autism and Parenting

When I started blogging, I thought my topic would be autistic and neurodivergent children and their mothers.  The more I wrote, the more challenging it became to work the words autism and autistic into the text. Writing “autistic child” felt forced.  Why? I wondered.

I realized that I don’t relate to the term “autism mother” and everything I write applies to all of my children – not just to my autistic son. It is not because he is not special, but because they all are. We all are.

I could write about IEPs and the gluten free diet and innovative therapies for autistic children.  But there are already many blogs, newsletters, books and magazines on these topics.  They are being done well by other people.

I find myself sharing wisdom imbued in me by my children.  I write about what I’ve learned along the way that has made our lives healthier, easier and happier in the hope that you will benefit.

The word autism turned my world upside down and inside out.  I would not be who I am without it. I am also ready to move beyond the label. What do you think?  I’d really love to hear your thoughts on labels in the comment boxes below.

Beyond the Label:  Lessons from Autism

Only one of my children is diagnosable and sports a recognizable label:  autism. When I think about him, I do not think, “My autistic child.”  I think of him as Daniel. I think of my quirky daughter as Ellana and my intensely principled son as Jonathon. I see each as a uniquely magnificent individual.  All three are beyond labeling or categorizing.  There is no normal in my house.

What is normal?

Synonyms for normal include:

·         typical

·         average

·         unsurprising

·         ordinary

·         common

Would you like to eat a common chocolate, drink an unremarkable wine, drive an average car, or take an ordinary vacation? Might you prefer chocolate that is uncommonly delicious, a wine that is remarkably silky, a car that offers a surprisingly refined ride, and an extraordinary vacation?

Why then are typical, ordinary, normal children seen as ideal? We don’t hunger for mediocrity in other aspects of life, yet we yearn for uneventful meals, ordinary nights and unremarkable parent-teacher conferences.

We are burdened by the notion that children should be a certain way.  That life should be a certain way.

How They Should Be, How They Are

Most people, either consciously or unconsciously, expect their children will be like them.  Fathers place tiny, spongy footballs in the cribs of their infant sons in loving anticipation of lives of athletic stardom.  Mothers play classical music for babies and take toddlers to Kindermusik to develop well-rounded, cultured children.  Grandmothers study little faces to see who the which family members the babies look like.

All of this usually comes from a place of love for the child and delight at the prospect of another chance at life.
But then something happens.  The future athlete can’t learn to ride a bike or pay attention to directions.  He certainly can’t throw or catch the ball.  The upcoming Miss Charming throws spectacular tantrums and refuses to listen to music.
Teachers and doctors and specialists say its autism or some other dis-order and the parents’ world turns upside down.

What’s in a name?

. . . language is entirely symbolic.  Words aren’t real.  They’re simply scribbles, doodles and sounds to which we assign meanings stored in the brain as images, feelings, and sounds:  mental constructs only vaguely approximating the objects they represent.   We use words to manipulate the mental representations, rarely scrutinizing our constructs under the light of physical reality.

–From Mark Rostenko’s article The Unnamed in Obscurious Moo
At first, the label is a lifeline.  It explains why our children are the way they are.  The words give us something to research:  autism, PDD-NOS, ADHD, sensory integration disorder, reactive detachment disorder.  The words connect us to others like us and are a way to find information.

Eventually though, we realize that our child’s -ism or disorder is not exactly like that of other children.  His or her most triggering behaviors and traits AND most endearing ones are quite unique.

Some suggestions about his or her condition are right on.  Others don’t work at all.

None of us fits neatly into a box.
We are all alike.  We are also all different.

Play a Game

When looking at your child’s differences or noticing people who seem entirely unlike you, play a game.  Say,“Just like me, this person….”

Notice the ways we are all connected. Notice  the ways we are uniquely magnificent.

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scorch the earth #lovenotfear

Gorgeous poem on loving our children exactly as they are.

love explosions

scorch the earth
This post was written as a contribution to the “ Love not Fear Flashblog ” presented by Boycott Autism Speaks .

You are my child.  You are the child that I have.  And the very child that I wanted.

Your Autistic body is exquisite.
May it always respond to you.  To your will alone.
You owe your gaze to no one.
May you rest it only on that which offers you contentment.
Your flapping hands express your joy.
May they laugh at those that seek to make them table ready.

Your Autistic spirit is on fire.
May it burn bright in sight of those who would extinguish it.
You owe compliance to no one.
May you incinerate the intentions of all those who would force it.
Your worthiness of humanity is infinite.
May it ignite the blazes of love and acceptance to which you are entitled.

Every part of you…

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Love, not fear: Expanding Awareness, Embracing Beauty

This headline appeared in my Facebook feed one day. Landon Bryce, an autistic adult, opened his post with these words: This does not mean that if you hate autism, you do not also love autistic people. But you hate part of them.

On my Blessed by (Autism) Uniquely Magnificent Children Facebook page, I asked parents to comment on the above statement. They replied:

I hate autism and how my son is disabled and with low intelligence. I love my son. (Jo)

I don’t like autism but I love my daughter for who she is. (Annette)

On the surface, it seems that it is possible to hate autism while loving autistic individuals. When we dig deeper, we begin to sense the truth of Landon’s assertion.

I Hate that You Hit Your Sister, But I Love that You’re Impulsive

If my child were not impulsive, she would control her urge to hit. If she did not hit, her gentle parents would not (ahem) lose control and scream as if possessedIf she could be a little more thoughtfulwe could have a more pleasant, more normal life. (Why yes, perceptive reader, impulsivity does reside in our house.)

Enter Wabi Sabi Love

Listening to a New Consciousness Review podcast with Arielle Ford, I heard about Wabi Sabi LoveArielle, self-described Fairy Godmother of Love, introduced the concept this way:

Wabi Sabi is an ancient Japanese aesthetic that honors all things, old, worn, weathered, imperfect, and impermanent.  So if you had a large vase with a crack in it, the Japanese would put it on a pedestal and shine a light on the crack.

Wikipedia says:

[Wabi-sabi] nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect.[3]

700 years ago, understanding emptiness and imperfection was honored as tantamount to the first step to satori, or enlightenment. In today’s Japan, the meaning of wabi sabi is often condensed to ″wisdom in natural simplicity.″ In art books, it is typically defined as ″flawed beauty.″ [4]

Wabi Sabi for Everybody

Here’s the thing: 

We are all flawed, and we are all stunningly beautiful.  Everything is In Creation, a work in progress. All is perfect, even when it doesn’t seem that way.

Arielle encourages us to tell a new story about the characteristics or traits that we perceive as flaws. A non-implusive Ellana would mean no joyful, exuberant, and very loud outbursts of singing, no wild swinging, no boisterous play with her brothers. A non-impulsive Jonathon would mean no running leaps into my arms, no tumbling on the bed, no shooting sounds during play.

Non-impulsive, my children would be calmer and quieter, but they would not be themselves.  And I like them exactly the way they are.

For Valentine’s Day, Arielle Ford created the Wabi Sabi Amnesty Vow. Check it out and consider writing a Wabi Sabi promise to your children. Consider writing one for your partner. Or for yourself.

Here’s my adaptation of Arielle’s Amnesty Vow:

Love by Pastel Punk on Deviant Art

Dear (Child),

I love you. You have been bringing me joy from the moment you were born. I appreciate every day that we are together. Often, I’m not good at showing it.

As you know, (oh, how you know!), for the past (16) years I have been criticizing you for (being disorganized, loud, and unaware). I have recently learned about a concept called Wabi Sabi Love.  It’s all about learning to find beauty and perfection in people, situations, and things exactly the way they are.

I now make a  Wabi Sabi Vow to you. Starting now, I am telling a new story.  I will do my best to find the beauty and perfection in your unique way of being and doing things, especially those that have bothered me in the past.

Please forgive me for all of the times I yelled at and misunderstood you. Thank you for being you and for all that you do.

Love, Mama

P.S. I will need to practice this Wabi Sabi thing.  When I begin to slip up, I give you permission to put me back on track by saying “Where’s the Wabi Sabi Love?”

Adapted from Arielle Ford at www.wabisabilove.com

Written for 

flashblog-entry

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Valentine’s Day? Bah, Humbug!

It is February 13, and, yet again, I have not bought those silly, pre-printed Valentines. When my children were in elementary school, I did buy them. It was required.

I’d watch other children walk to school clutching red-heart-decorated shoe and boot boxes to collect the cards and treats. I  supervised reluctant card-signing.

Phony Baloney

Saint Valentine’s Day is a holiday observed on February 14 honoring one or more early Christian martyrs (none of whom are known for love or romance). It was established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD, and was deleted from the General Roman Calendar in 1969 by Pope Paul VI.

The roots of St. Valentine’s Day may lie in the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, which was celebrated February 13 – 15. Priests of the festival whipped bystanders.  Being touched by the whip was supposed to increase fertility in women.

What exactly are we celebrating?

I understand that contemporary Valentine’s celebrations in school are not about Christian saints or Roman holidays.  I understand (sort-of) that they are supposed to be fun. But what are we teaching? How do children who are socially inept, bullied, or shy experience this holiday?

Same, Same!  Cards for Everybody!

Children are required to give a card to each child in their class, so that no one feels left out. But kids know who likes them and who doesn’t. They know whom they like. They know when they are giving cards because they have to, versus giving cards they want to.

Teaching children to be kind and considerate to all of their classmates is a valuable lesson.  Teaching them to treat everyone the same, is not.

All children do not all wish to be treated the same. When sad, one child might like a hug, another to talk it out, a third would prefer to be left alone. Some children show their excitement with high-fives and shouts, others flick their fingers or flap their hands.

And a Little Red Dye #40

Almost half of my children’s classrooms have been peanut free. One was latex free. Our homeschool group avoided eggs because one family had life-threatening allergies. But artificial colors and flavors have been allowed in all classrooms. (Except at the Waldorf school. But that’s a separate, otherwise awful story.)

The UK banned artificial food dyes in 2008 after a study suggested they are related to hyperactive behavior in children. The UK demands that manufacturers use natural colors and flavors and US companies use natural products in the UK — while continuing to use artificial dyes in the products sold in the US.  (Learn more from Deborah Merlin, author of Victory over ADHD.)

My daughter was severely affected by red food coloring as a child.  Now, she avoids fake-red foods saying, “It makes me crazy.”

Bah, Humbug!

hum·bug

[huhm-buhg] interjection, noun
1.  something intended to delude or deceive.
4.   something devoid of sense or meaning; nonsense
  • I wonder what would happen if, in lieu of pre-printed, generic cards, we asked each child to think of one thing they admire about each classmate.
  • I wonder if the children would be surprised to discover that there really is something good about every person in the room, even in those children they don’t like.
  • I wonder how it would feel to receive 20-some pieces of paper that showed us the wonderfulness our classmates found in us.

What would you have the schools do in place of the humbug that is Valentine’s Day?

Note: 

I am now homeschooling my only remaining elementary school-aged child and am thrilled to announce that I did not buy cards or candy for Valentine’s Day this year.

 

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Work in Progress

Thirteen years ago, my mother-hero’s journey began. My almost-three-year old’s teacher stopped me at the door. “We’d like to have someone from special ed come in and observe Ellana. She’s not like the other children.” My heart raced. My world whirled. Hours passed and I began to assemble the teacher’s words into meaning. She thought something was wrong with Ellana. I wept. I raged. I decided that Mrs. Francis was wrong. I refused the call to adventure. I rejected the labels the teacher and observer wanted to associate with my beautiful, brilliant girl.

Twelve years ago, I acknowledged that my child was very different from the other preschoolers and accepted the challenge to be the kind of parent (I thought) she needed. I decided to overcome the autism spectrumy thing. I donned my battle gear. I read, researched, and planned. I drove my daughter to therapy appointments and sampled treatments and therapies of many flavors. I had a goal. I would help her to modulate odd behaviors and acclimate to the ordinary world. I would fix the glitches in her system. I would make my child normal.

Eleven years ago, when my second child was two, he was evaluated and given an autism diagnosis. While Ellana’s way of being defied labeling, Daniel had never spoken a word. He pressed the buttons on his toys repeatedly. He flicked his hands in front of his face. He was happy, affectionate, intelligent, and obviously autistic.

Nine years ago, my first grader was in her fifth school in five years, and we were asked to withdraw midyear.  I plunged into the abyss. Amidst deep, dark despair, I experienced moment of insight: I would teach my daughter at home.

After five years of homeschooling, after much yelling, crying, and foot stomping from mother and child, revelation dawned: I did not need to fix my daughter or her brothers. They were not, and never had been, broken. None of them resembled the children I had envisioned, but they were perfectly themselves, and I loved them, no changing required.

Four years ago, my three children went to school. For the first time in eleven years, I was home alone during the day, so I decided to write a book. I interviewed mothers of autistic children and wrote about the transformative power of our parenting journeys. I was healed and enlightened. I recognized my children’s inherent awesomeness. Life was easy and good. And we lived happily ever after.

~ The End ~

Cue the laugh track. While the above is an accurate, though drastically abbreviated, telling of my parenting experience (the whole is here), and though I did feel as if my mother-hero’s journey had come to a natural conclusion, I relaxed on my (virtual) lounge chair on the beach, margarita in hand, rather briefly. The end was not The End, but a curve in the spiral of life, circling into another loop of The Journey. I had arrived . . . somewhere, yet felt more unmoored than ever.

 

Mother,
      a small BIG word, 
       gave my life purpose and meaning.

It was I,
         who knew what my children required.
It was I,
         who fed and healed.
It was I,
         who soothed and strengthened.

I was
     needed,
     heeded,
     indispensable.

Until I was not,
             not needed to fix, for they were not broken,
             not heeded, for they invoked their own wisdom,
             not indispensable, for they were competent and complete.

Mother,
      a BIG small role,
      forged the woman I am today.

It is I,
       who practice non-interference.
It is I,
       who aim to advise less and listen more.
It is I,
       who teach and support.

I was
     heated,
      hammered,
        beaten into shape.

Until I became,
               cool and unrestricted, flowing like water,
               expansive and pliable, open to constant change,
               sovereign and free.

Thirteen years into the journey, I am trying to not try to figure out a new purpose for being, striving to adjust to the flow of life’s currents, and learning to thrive in this uncertain space. I do not remember what I know every day. I relearn lessons I previously mastered. I slip, stumble, and fall. I notice twists, hills, and valleys on own journey honor the journeys of those around me.

I know that in every moment, we are all flawed, and we are all stunningly beautiful. All is perfect, even when it does not seem that way. Everything is in creation. I am a work in progress.

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Mother-Love: The Oldest Magic

There is magic in the air.  My windows are painted with frost.  The snow sparkles and squeaks.  It is very, very cold. 

Walking into Target to buy gift cards for teachers, I noticed a mother carrying a toddler bundled in a pillow- coat.  I fondly recalled my days of carrying puffy-clad children, first a bundle of pink and later, layers of blue.  All of the effort and care required to take my children out in the freezing temperatures was made worthwhile at the sight of their rosy cheeks and amazed eyes.

This season of love and giving is a good time to notice:  Mother Love is everywhere: cookies, baking; gifts, accumulating; stories, read; children, gloved and wrapped.

The Oldest Magic

What is magic?

“Magic is a bridge . . . that allows you to walk from the visible world over into the invisible world, and to learn the lessons of both those worlds.”

“And how can I learn to cross that bridge?”

“By discovering your own way of crossing it.  Everyone has their own way.”

~ Paulo Coelho in Brida

Magic is a prominent theme in my life these days.  I read about it, notice it, blog about it.  I open myself to experiencing magic and it shows up for me – usually in subtle, unexpected ways.

Bridge of Potentiality

I love the idea of magic as a bridge between the visible and invisible worlds, between the obvious and the subtle.  Mothers of Uniquely Magnificent children cross this bridge to see beyond the face value of “behaviors” and “traits.”  Part of the magic is seeing something wonderful in our children where others see misbehavior and dysfunction.

What Others May See……….What We See [1]

  • Demanding………………… Holds High Standards
  • Unpredictable……………  Flexible, creative problem solver
  • Loud…………………………… Enthusiastic
  • Argumentative…………… Committed to goals/beliefs
  • Stubborn……………………  Willingness to persist
  • Wild……………………………  Energetic
  • Inflexible……………………. Traditional
  • Anxious………………………  Cautious
  • Picky…………………………… Selective
  • Whiny…………………………  Analytical
  • Distractable……………….. Perceptive, notices everything

The Most Ancient Magic

We can shift to seeing the positive in our children because of the deep love we feel for them.

An Example from the Harry Potter Books

Because Harry Potter’s mother used her own body to shield Harry from Volemort’s killing curse, Harry is imbued with life-long strength and protection.   Harry’s teacher and mentor, Albus Dumbledore, explains:  When your mother gave her life for you, she gave you the protection of her love. That kind of love is the most ancient magic. (Clickhere to read more about J. K. Rowling and Maternal Magic and here to read my thoughts on how the Harry Potter phenomenon relates to autistic kids.)

We will never have the opportunity for the kind of maternal magic the mothers in Harry Potter perform.  Most days, our love magic resembles the drudgery of house elves more than the glamor of brave and quick-witted witches.  Still, that leaves plenty of opportunities to sprinkle some love.

Mother Magic

Meal Magic

A woman making dinner is invisible.  To claim that she is engaged in healing her family and community and keeping her universe in balance is a lot to claim for dinner. (Susun S. Weed in Healing Wise.)

Have you ever wondered why, no matter how closely you follow the recipe, your grandmother’s apple pie does not taste the same when someone else makes it, or why there is such as thing as comfort food?  When food is prepared, the feelings of the cook are transmitted in a real way.  A meal thrown together in a hurry is usually eaten just as quickly.  Slow down and slice an apple with love and linger as your child eats, and you have a moment for connection.

Mundane Magic

Just as you can prepare meals with love, you can pour your love into any daily task.  Children feel our rushing and our patience, our confidence and our disgust.  We can infuse them with some of the oldest magic by bathing, reading, playing, working – and by letting them know that we trust them to do things on their own.

Protective Magic

Sometimes, we are called to use all of our powers and to protect our children.  When we stand up to bullies, teachers and friends to ensure that our children are seen and supported, we are using yet another Mother Magic.

Magic — not Martyrdom

Love is feeling and emotion and action.  Give what you have to give in your own way.  This is exactly what your children need.  Just as the wand chooses the wizard, your child chose you.  Your children do not need a perfect mother, they need you.

Mother love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible. (source unknown)

Your love for your child will create a net of support for your child.  Even when he or she feels scared or angry or alone, your love will be there.  Like Lily’s love for Harry, your love will provide a protection that cannot be seen or measured, yet will be there your child life when he or she most needs it.


[1] These are from Mary Sheedy Kurcinka’s excellent book, Raising Your Spririted Child.

 

Enjoy the love and magic of the season!

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