Monday, January 14, 2013

It's All Relative

Braving a thermometer that regularly read in the teens, we spent the Christmas and New Year holidays in Kansas. One night driving home from seeing The Hobbit—for the second time—we watched the temperature gradually drop down from 15º to 5º! Driving back to Carolina, the weather felt down right balmy at 45º.

Tired of typical fare grabbed on the road, we decided to try Domino's gluten-free pizza. While their food labeling clearly states it does not reach the uber-scrupulous standards for celiac disease, Pamela usually has no problem with gluten-free food that might have a little cross contamination. We wanted to find out whether an occasional pizza would cause a reaction (skin rash, irritability, foggy thinking, incontinence, etc.). I had forgotten that this pizza establishment was not a sit-down restaurant, so we ended up eating at a rest area five miles down the road.

Both the temperature and level of gluten exposure have one thing in common: relativity. Compared to Kansas weather, we felt warm basking in the sun while eating our pizza. Compared to a regular pizza, the gluten-free pizza offered such a miniscule amount of the wheat protein that Pamela had no reaction.

Everything is relative.

Sometimes, hearing about autism-spectrum folks doing great things makes me fret about much far behind Pamela is. Online viewers of the Miss America 2013 competition chose Miss Montana, who still has residual speech anomalies in spite of having come far after getting diagnosed with mild autism eleven years ago. Lexi Madden is planning to major in art therapy in the fall. She is so far beyond where Pamela is and, believe me, Pamela has worked just as hard to come as far as she has.

And, then, I come across a post by Greg Lucas about finding joy in scrubbing urine off the bathroom floor.

It's all relative!

So, rather than succumb to grumblings caused by comparing my situations to that of others, I'm going to ponder moments of joy. Think of this as a virtual gratitude jar. Pamela . . .

  • . . . thinks it's funny when I make a mistake. We had her leftover burger and fries boxed up before we left the Mexican restaurant. When she realized I had left her leftovers behind, she cracked up and laughed at my forgetfulness.

  • . . . is so excited about starting a new year's worth of books that she drove me to homeschool during our break and on weekends. We started the term finale and she is the one coming up with the daily schedule.

  • . . . on her own initiative, entered page numbers for our daily readings for the last day of the week in a spreadsheet. She even knew how to change the highlighting of the cell from green to white to show what is ready to go (white) and what still needs work (green). Then, she told me, "I did the schedule!" with great joy in her efforts. Talk about an "Elves and the Shoemaker" moment for me!

  • . . . gets the mail every morning and even brings books that come in the mail to me. How thoughtful!

  • . . . found great delight and exclaiming loudly "REMEMBER THE ALAMO" while reading the book on that topic in our final week of the term.

  • . . . reminisced about all of our favorite horses when the topic came up in one of our books: Shadowfax, Goblin, Chùcaro, Pegasus, etc.

  • . . . is adamant in her proclamations that she is NOT college, NOT high school, NOT middle school, and NOT elementary school. She is Charlotte Mason (our style of lifelong learning). To respect her repeated announcement, I decided to shift the names of all my computer documents from "Year 6" to "Year 2013" since we are beginning a bunch of new books in January 2013.


Susan said...

Love your positive attitude Tammy! It is hard not to play the comparing game. I love how you refuse to let yourself wallow in self-pity though and choose instead to focus on all you and Pamela have accomplished together. And, truly, you both have accomplished a lot! I often wish that my own son was further ahead. But, as my husband reminded me yesterday after some disappointing incidents that left me feeling rather raw and emotional, he's come very far already. Our son used to not notice who his family members were. He'd disappear at random and not look for family members in a crowd. Now, he is our shepherd boy, always looking out for his siblings welfare and eager to share his discoveries with us. Yes, he's 16 and still very behind. But he's still making progress! And that's the thing to focus on.

We try to remember to focus on God's timetable, not ours. Thanks for blogging and reminding me of this Tammy!

(BTW - I've closed down Susan's Soliloquy for some personal reasons, but I'm missing blogging. So I've started a new one. I'm changing the nicknames for the kids, but I wanted to let you know it's still me... Susan from Susan's Soliloquy, "LB's" mom.)

walking said...

I'm so glad these reflections were timely for you. Those of us who do not have autism wunderkinds know how hard they have worked to come as far as they have, even if it seems eclipsed by others.

Chef Penny said...

What a great post as usual. My wunderkind doesn't own his education like that . ;-)

walking said...

Pamela definitely feels part of the process, an owner, and a stakeholder in her education.

Anonymous said...

I'm new to your blog, but just wanted to share that this encouraged me! Thanks! :) Naomi