Giving up

I have received delightful Holiday letters listing friends and family accomplishments and adventures. It’s left me wondering what a letter from me might list. I’m thinking that maybe, sometimes, it’s the things we have given up on that might be noteworthy…

I’ve given up on a lot of things this year! It’s pretty exciting when I think about it, adding it all up? It has helped reduce my stress tremendously, and I really feel I’ve made significant strides in 2015. Here is my list!

  • Given up on insisting that my youngest son
  • Wear underwear
  • Wear socks
  • Wear a shirt in the house
  • Have his hair cut
  • Wear jeans
  • Do his homework immediately when he comes home
  • Do more than an hour of daily homework
  • Eat food he doesn’t like

I cannot express how much happier we all are because I’ve given up these battles. My son is still learning and growing and maturing. He has had no melt downs at school, and much fewer at home. Why did these different personal preferences ever bother me so much?! Really. Who cares?!

I’ve given up on similar meaningless things with the other children:

  • Hair
  • Food
  • Excellence in school (I still insist they do their homework, and do their best, but no more expectations and pressure to perform better than others, or even the same as others).
  • Participation in sports and neuro-normative activities
  • Compliance to what others feel is best for them
  • Unquestioning obedience

My children are all their own people. They have quirks and disabilities, but they are all very good people. The world is a better place because my children are in it. The cards are already stacked against them, and their lives will always have more stress than many others. Being different is hard enough. Why stress them out further with my desires for them? In the end, I just want them to be good, compassionate, happy human beings. I really like them the way they are. They challenge me to think out-of-the-box. And they make me laugh. They make me proud.

Similarly, I’ve given up on myself. I’ve given up on:

  • Being thin
  • Being some sort of virtuoso artist
  • Being and longing to be extraordinary/the best
  • Pleasing people who cannot be pleased
  • Expecting others to love me the way I want/need to be loved
  • Looking great
  • Keeping the house as clean as I want it
  • Acting like I have more energy than I do
  • Pretending I’m an extrovert
  • Longing for a conventional family
  • Living in the future
  • Living in the past
  • Living in the “should have”
  • Being angry at those who don’t get it
  • Begrudging those who have it better than I do, and accepting that there will be times that it’s painful to be surrounded by them

I also feel I’ve mostly finished grieving my dreams, illusions and expectations. I’ve stopped trying to make sense of it all. I’ve stopped shaking my fists at the heavens. I’m accepting that life can be random and unpredictable, and things won’t always work out, and it’s ok, because it has to be. I’m also accepting that sometimes there are glimpses of magic and everything really connects and works out for the best, though I never expect these rare magic moments.

I’ve always been a good fighter. In this portion of my healing journey, I’ve had to learn to stop struggling. I am learning to stop fighting and rattling cages and banging my head against walls that

It’s been better for me this year to accept there are immovable walls. I’ve fought these walls. I’ve grieved these walls. Now I’m looking around for different passages around them. There is a time to fight and a time to surrender, a time to grieve, accept, and embrace. I am hoping that 2016 will be a time to find purposeful new passages.