Saturday, May 12, 2007

Happy Mothers on Mother's Day

In what stands as a example of (unconscious) actions speaking louder than words, I thought I'd posted the following on Mother's Day . . . but instead I'd saved it as a draft! If you read on, you'll see how very ironic that is . . . .

I received a letter in the mail yesterday from Sweet M, and this is what it said —


Dear mom,

You are very

Your a big help with
Your are a
good cook wen
you make cake.

you are super sweet
your funny.
you are fun.
I love


There are many things that I love about Sweet M, but one of the things that is most beguiling is her very limited ability to lie: "You are a good cook wen you make cake." That may be true. I think the last time I made cake was 1876, so she's got that right!

But seriously, how cute is this?

It got me thinking about happiness, truth telling, and telling the whole truth, as some fellow autism mom travelers have been thinking about lately. What do we share, how do we share it, and what does the very act of sharing our times of happiness, rage, grief, and dismay in a space like the autism blogosphere — where anyone with an internet connection can drop in and have a look — do to our lives?

What do we post, what do we "save as draft" in perpetuity?

This year I've been overwhelmed by your support when I cut loose and shared some of the difficult things going on at Sweet M's school and with the psychologist who evaluated her. Moved. Amazed. And aided in the most fundamental ways.

Yet I shuddered to think about any of the educators and psychologists involved coming across the blog. The representations, while always true, are also inevitably partial. None of them are the wicked Dementors of a Harry Potter world, even if in our world they became so for a time.

In a culture where a book and DVD like The Secret has become a #1 bestseller, paying attention to anything that's not going well is consider ill-advised, at best, and dangerous, at worst. If one thinks that one's thoughts are the only thing that creates reality — that's what The Secret proposes — then sharing thoughts about events that aren't optimal becomes positively counterproductive.

That worries me, because the times that I've shared my moments of misery with you have been some of the most productive for me and for our family — as you have all weighed in so eloquently.

But on the other hand, if we're just out here in the blogosphere kvetching about the difficulties we face, well, that would make for some god-awful reading, wouldn't it?

I've more than once stated my dismay about the narrative necessity of happy endings and lemons squeezed into a sweetened solution.

How do we speak truth yet also inspire each other? How do we make a space to write about our work as autism moms and dads where we aren't pulled to represent ourselves as happily-ever-after?


Jannalou said...

I think that sometimes our thoughts do contribute to our reality. I know that if I'm not on my antidepressants (I've proven to myself that I'm chemically depressed) I will make myself feel worse and worse simply because of the way I start to think.

To an extent, we do make our own reality.

I don't think that being in charge of our lives means that we should maintain some level of fairy-tale optimism about things, though.

There is a point to thinking good thoughts and making things come out the way we want them to, but in the end we need to be realistic as well.

Daisy said...

Sometimes venting helps get the negative thoughts expressed and out of the way. I started blogging with that in mind -- blog therapy -- and it's worked.

Anonymous said...

this is exactly where my impetus for the anthology came from, this very same question. can we enter the discussion, the parenting discussion, along with the other parents? with all our quirks and eccentricities as 'autism' mommies and daddies without it being all about flowery language of gifts or dark moments of despair but everything--those two ends and everything in between.

dgreetings said...

Whatever you said is true. Moms are really great and I think they are pretty intelligent then any other person because nobody dares to do our homework then our Mother. lol!!!

I wish all Mothers of the world a Happy Mothers Day.