Disclaimer: These posts are dedicated to following along with the book "Deliberate Motherhood: 12 Key Powers of Peace, Purpose, Order & Joy," a compilation of essays on motherhood written by authors who contribute to the Power of Moms website. Each month has a different "power" to focus on with the purpose of finding peace, purpose, order and joy in the role of motherhood. I will be writing various posts each month based on that theme. You don't have to have the book to follow along though! January's theme is "Acceptance."
During the months that Paige was first starting to see therapists for her delays (back when she was around 21 months old or so) and then she was diagnosed with PDD-NOS (an autism spectrum disorder), I was struggling to understand my daughter. Was she ok? Was her personality her OWN, or was it something reflected from her "disorder?" I didn't know what to think. I didn't know what was HER or what was the delay. It took a long time to figure out what little things were just normal everyday personality traits for a 2-year old and what things were signs of her diagnosis. I was overwhelmed and sad. This was my first baby and I had no idea what was "normal" or what was a red flag. Why was this happening? Why MY little girl? I cried a lot.
Well, after some time, peace all came down to acceptance. My daughter was a miracle. We'd waited for her for so long. She was sunny, bright, happy, silly, sweet, cute, and clever. She certainly was very smart, and knew just how to make us smile. Nothing would change that. No diagnosis would modify these things in her...so why should I let her diagnosis define her? She was still the same person.
Once I chose to accept that my daughter was perfect JUST AS SHE IS, everything fell into place. I stopped worrying so much about her future and realized she's just fine as she is. She is learning how to be more flexible, how to make friends and have social interactions with other kids, and a whole host of other skills that will enhance her life. She's doing great and she's going to be just fine.
See, sometimes our children come into the world and we expect that we have influence in who they are. It turns out, we actually have very little control in that area. We can discipline...we can guide...we can suggest...but in the end, our children reveal a little bit of themselves to us every single day. It's already been done. We have to buckle up and enjoy the ride.
Noah, I can already tell, is a more "typical" child. He engages with me easily and is pointing, waving, clapping and doing these things Paige never did. He is also very willful and loves to get into things. Paige always listened when I said "no." He just ignores me and grins. He opens every cabinet and drawer. Pushes every button he shouldn't. Ignores his toys in favor of the cable box or tv remote or telephone. Noah is his own curious person. When I get frustrated with his antics, I remember to accept him as he is. I feel gratitude for who he is; knowing that his behavior is typical and healthy.
When I accept my children, I get a rush of patience I didn't have before. My frustration can melt away to love. I'm able to see things as they really are and enjoy the moment. When they are crying, fussing, moaning and groaning all at once I accept it. I smile and know that it will be over soon...too soon. So, in essence, acceptance is a powerful tool. It can take a stressful frustrating moment and turn it into a moment of peace and forgiveness.
I accept my children every single day, as they accept ME. I'm not perfect. They are not perfect. But we accept each other's love and that is what makes our world go 'round. Accepting those around you for who they really are is a gift. It sets you free to live in the moment.
What do you accept about your loved ones? Is there something you need to accept in your life that would make things go more smoothly?