My son Noah turned 21 at the beginning of July. Of course all the guys at his work asked right away if they could take him out drinking. Thank god he has listened about that one thing! We can't help ourselves but to compare with our own childhoods. Telling our kids that they have it too easy, too good with too many conveniences and that they never would have survived our lives. We are after all only human. The one thing I could never fathom in a million years, is leaving my child.
Noah lives everyday with autism, bipolar and tourette's syndrome. There is most certainly never a dull moment. I would pay a lot of money for one though! I think back and wonder how we did it. But really I know. You have to be committed, more committed and determined than with anything in your life! I did not have a mother like that. But I also knew that there had to be a balance. Somehow I knew you can't have a set of parents who are absent and then swing 180 degrees in the other direction and be a hovering crazy obsessive and expect it to come out right. Too much of anything is never healthy. So you have to find that middle ground. Always come from a place of love. Even when you are at your whits end. Do not hesitate to give consequences. Even with special needs kids, they need to know limitations, they flourish knowing boundaries. And the boundaries and limitations are things you do for them, not too them. They love you for it even if they can't figure that out till later. They are after all just kids and are basing all of their behavior/attitudes on the experiences they have had in their own very short lives. Pay no attention to the fact that most of the time they walk around acting as if they know it all and would NEVER need you.
I think I have been pretty good about allowing Noah to experience the world. He is doing way better than any professional had predicted. He has a job, that he has kept for over 2 years. He drives and has his own car. He is paying his own car insurance. Sure he still lives at home and needs help not blowing all his money on Yu-Gi-Oh cards and cake, but for him to be maintaining is an amazing thing to witness after all the challenges.
I remember when Noah was little and I took him to the park. He was sitting on the ground just feeling the dirt in his hands, touching the grass and being. I loved just watching him experience the world. Of coarse I got a conversation going with a lady and she was in awe. She complimented me on the fact that I allowed him to experience the world, that I let him get dirty. Isn't that part of being in the world? Isn't that part of the experience of life? Sometimes we will get dirty.