First, I want to thank everyone who reads this blog. You guys keep me going. I wish I could know you all in real life. Maybe someday, I'll travel around and try to meet every last one of you. In the meantime, it's great to hear from you here, have you as friends on Facebook or just know you are out there someplace!
Last week I was hit with a huge amount of self-doubt. There were lots of reasons, some I'm not going to get into just yet, but I was feeling hugely down on myself. But today, thanks to thinking about things a new way with the help of all of you, I'm feeling much better.
I'm never going to be tough in some ways. You will not see me organizing fundraisers, or hiring top advocates to come with me to IEP meetings, or educating everyone that looks at Janey with a hint of anything but total support. I am thankful there are people that can do those things. If there weren't, we'd be back in the bad old days, and Janey would not even get an education.
But I am tough in other ways. I can't tell you how many times I've had a morning that for many, for most outside the wonderful world of Holland trips, would be the roughest morning they've ever had, and still, I somehow got Janey dressed and ready for school, and drove her there. I don't know how many nights from hell I've had, where Janey barely slept, screamed or laughed all night, was possessed by whatever possesses her, and still, I got up the next day and went about my life. I've stood strong while Janey lashed out at me with hitting or biting, and responded with hugs and comfort. I've continued to shop while Janey screamed in a way most people have never heard a child scream, all the while holding her hand and whispering words of encouragement. I'm not looking for rewards for this, but I'm realizing it's something to be proud of.
Many times, I've felt guilty because I don't go to more school meetings, I don't go to autism rallies, I don't go to the statehouse to advocate for autism. I feel I don't do enough for the greater autism world. But this morning, a song came into my head. I'm not very religious, but I love religious music. It's my form of faith, I guess. Going to Sunday School growing up in rural Maine, there was a children's hymn we sang every Sunday. Here are the lyrics...
Jesus bids us shine with a clear, pure light
Like a little candle, burning in the night
In this world of darkness, we must shine
You in your small corner and I in mine!
I've always loved that hymn. I picture a huge, dark room, and me in one of the corners, burning a small candle to fight the big darkness. I can't light up the whole room, but I can light up my corner. And that is what I am trying to do with this blog. I can light my little corner. I can write honestly and truthfully and in a heartfelt way. That is something I am able to do, and it's my way of lighting my small corner. It's my way of being tough, but true to myself. And I'll keep doing it.