Special Needs, Tooth Brushing, and Perspective
This morning I felt defeated. Sadly, that’s a common emotion for me. Even though it takes an Olympic wrestling match to get my autistic daughter into the car, getting her into school was a different story.
Every morning we pray on the way to school. This morning, I felt a bit more random than usual and spent a lot of time praying about the path I had to navigate. But things were good. Rachel was in the car and actually had on a dress because it was chilly.
Anyway, I got Rachel to school, ready to pat myself on the back for a job well done, only to realize we had forgotten to brush her teeth last night and again this morning. She might not have had her teeth brushed since the day before yesterday. I felt like such a loser! How is it that I cannot manage a simple task like brushing teeth? My assessment of myself went from yippie to dippy in less than two seconds. Even my silly socks I wore to stay warm and make me smile could not lift me from my “I’m a loser mother” funk.
What to do? Well, I’ll tell you what not to do. I called my mother and had a gripe session. Things I wasn’t even upset about and that had happened days ago came pouring out and morphed into poisonous anger while I yakked. When my mother suggested I go home, take two chocolates, and call her in the morning, I wondered … what is wrong with me?
I came home, retreated to a quiet corner, and opened my Bible. “God, I’m so angry this morning, but it’s really about my frustrations and fear that I am a terrible mother. I need some perspective here.” Well, there’s nothing like reading some good Old Testament to get perspective. All of a sudden I didn’t feel quite so bad. Tooth brushing seemed like a small thing compared to some of the problems I read about.
So, moral of the story? Don’t let temporary things steal my joy. My joy does not have to be based on how fresh my child’s breath is or how long it is going to take me to clean the red magic marker drawings off the car upholstery (another story …).
So, my sisters and friends, keep up your chins, keep laughing, put on some happy socks, and don’t be like me by letting little things steal your joy.
Have a joyful day. And if silly socks help, wear ‘em with pride.