And conversely, do I see what you see?
Recently I had a conversation with my favorite "school parent." It's funny sometimes how a simple conversation can really make you self-reflect. And this particular conversation definitely did that for me...
The parent has a son with pretty typical characteristics of Autism. He was found eligible for special education last year and started with pretty minimal services and has needed an increase as curriculum has become more rigorous. We chatted about how his son was doing and how he has really benefitted from small group instruction. He said that his younger self always imagined that he would have sons who played sports and that's how he would be cheering them on. He said with this son, it's a daily cheer and excitement when his son comes home and verbalizes something that happened at school, or verbalizes that he had an interaction with a friend. He even got excited telling me about it, displaying a fist pump and ear to ear smile. He stated that he was amazed how his perspective has changed.
But, there's something else about this parent. He told me that he now recognizes that his oldest son also likely suffers from Aspergers. But, so does he. From the first moment I met him, I knew there was something about him. His speech patterns are not typical, his sense of humor appears to be thought out and approached with care. His thoughts appear to be very processed, as if you can actually see the wheels turning. But, the most important thing about this parent is that he has overcome any social weaknesses that he may have had, and has learned to compensate so well that he is able to represent both himself and his wife amongst a group of educators that I would imagine can be very intimidating for any parent.
When I met this parent, I honestly thought, I wonder if he sees what we see. Does he have any idea that he likely has very high functioning Autism as well? But, my perspective has shifted to to this... I wonder if he sees what we see. A caring and advocating husband who supports his wife who struggles with sitting in those intimidating meetings and listening to others talk about their son, and a caring an advocating parent who cheers on his son for such small accomplishments as talking to a friend. And does he have any idea how he has touched the hearts of and inspired so many of the teachers that work with his son?
Witch brings me to my self-reflection. What do others see in me, and do I see that in myself?
Some of those who are closest to me, (my sisters) have defined me as being both "high-maintenance" and somewhat of a loose cannon. Do I sometimes over-react? Perhaps. Am I high-maintenance emotionally? Absolutely. Overall, do I think those words describe me? Nah. But, they are definitely a piece to my complicated puzzle. (Side note: I love my sisters dearly and I'm pretty sure they love me too!!)
In my work life, I've heard "you are amazing", "you are a bitch" and everything in between. Do I see myself as amazing? ABSOLUTELY! (oops, I forgot the NOT!). I am by no means amazing. Nor am I an expert. I know enough to muddle through, and perhaps enough to make some think I know more than I do. I am passionate about my field, but often shy away from making strong stances unless I feel backed to a wall or feel that someone is completely off base. I have been told I can be intimidating, which cracks me up, because that is definitely not the me I see.
I have often been told, "you are such a good mom." Ha! Perhaps the mom that others see is good, but 24/7, I am far from it. I have parent fails daily. But I love my kids passionately! I love that others see me as a good mom, I just wish I could see that.
In married life, I am far from a perfect wife. I love my husband dearly. He thinks I'm perfect...(ahem)...and he compliments me much. But, I don't see what he sees either.
The me I see is just an average girl. I love deeply, be it family or friends, and I am protective of all of those people. I am super, super sensitive. I sometimes have a hot temper. I can hold grudges, but if I love you, I forgive easily. I am a giver, almost to a fault. I hurt easily. I lack self-confidence. I tend to be naive. I wear my emotions on my sleeve and I am an open book. I am guarded until I trust you, but once you have my trust, you may know more than you want to. I tend to be a follower, and don't have many things that I am passionate about. I love to be spoiled. I have a hard time saying no. And I love my family with all my heart.