Tuesday, January 4, 2011

January Happiness Project-Energy


Energy is an interesting topic for a Happiness Project discussion. I can’t tell you how energy effects every waking moment of my life. We can look at energy from the purely utilitarian point of view, meaning the energy we need to heat our homes, run our cars and basically exist in our modern world. But energy is quite worrisome and lends itself to quite the debate in our society. To acknowledge that oil is needed to complete our lives, but that it is foreign oil mostly from very unfriendly countries is a scary thought. The idea of drilling whether off shore or in protected areas bothers so many, and there are real environmental concerns, yet where else is the oil going to come from? Cutting down our dependence on oil and producing alternative means of energy, be it solar or wind, electric, or even the use of a potato (you remember that experiment we all did in elementary school with the potato battery) is a great idea, but that takes time, money and another type of energy-human wherewithal. Meanwhile what do we do while all these inventions are in the offing? I don’t have an answer; I just have lots of questions. Heck if I had the answers I would write a great political, scientific, economic, and legal tome that would become the informational sensation of the year, winning me acclaim, honors and maybe enough money to have hubby quit his job, set up those trust funds for the boys and oh yeah, pay off all that special needs incurred debt. What I do know, however, is that the five day camping trip we had this time last year, during the snowicane, reinforced my notion that I will not live life without energy unless the world runs dry of oil and they pry my tuchas out of my warm, comfortable home. OK, maybe not a great topic for this blog….

So what other kinds of energy could we talk about?  Human wherewithal definitely fits the bill. Its part of that secret place, deep down inside ourselves that summons up this incredible amount of drive and stamina that just keeps us going and going and going. Heck the Energizer bunny has nothing on us. We as parents of special needs children understand that there is this little place inside yourself, which holds this special kind of energy. I wouldn’t even call it parenting energy, because that is just the average amount, something akin to filling up the tank of a prius. No, what we have, this special needs parenting energy is more akin to the energy found within that most powerful of microscopic life forms, the atom. That elusive building block of life, that all-important part of the universe, which structures and gives shape to the world around us.  The atom, at once creative and once the most destructive force human kind has ever unleashed upon the world. We, like the atom, can help build up the world or blow through it when our children are not given their due. We have within us nuclear parenting energy. It is forever and even its half-life lasts way beyond that of normal human endurance. Those momma-grizzlies, ain't got nothing on us, that's for certain.

So what does this energy enable us to do? It enables us to move from task to task, from trauma to trauma, holding on to the reality that we know we have to seek for our children. It enables us to research, and look for, and seek out answers to questions, that the scientists haven’t even thought of. How many times, have you read about a scientific discovery about autism or having to do with your child’s special needs, and your response was, I knew that, all they had to do was ask me. I could have told then about situations and issues and how I figured out how to help my child. We even have some interesting ideas about what causes problems, the linkage to brain function and the diseases (autoimmune) we find in our community. We know what to do and believe it or not, we parents also know what is best for our offspring.

The nuclear parenting energy enables us to live through some of the worst parts of our lives to grasp onto the future knowing that it will be better, because we are going to make it better. The nuclear parenting energy allows us to move forward in the face of economic collapse, school disenfranchisement and the sheer ignorance of society. It gives us the resolve to teach the damn world about our children, to stand up for our children and fight for what our children need. It is the nuclear parenting energy that enables us to basically get up in the morning, greet a new day and say hey world, ready or not, here we come.

Personally, that nuclear energy came in handy for me this year. It was a hard year for this family, as it was for so many of us throughout this land. Hubby at one point even told me that I wasn’t looking good and I knew that I had to reassert my nuclear parenting energy (Ok I had forgotten to take my lupus medicine and that’s really why I didn’t look good. Forgot the cardinal rule about taking care of myself too. Yes, a slip up we all have them.) Of course, when your child is so unhappy at school, or not functioning well even at home, it makes everything all the more harder and you can get overwhelmed worrying about them. But this is when we become determined. This is nuclear parenting. This is when you grab a hold and find the answers and you don’t stop until that child is smiling and laughing and singing in the shower (or bath if their sensory issues prevent them from showering).

Sometimes you do think that you are alone in the world and that no one around you even knows what you are going through. That other people, even those you see everyday, see past you but that never actually see you. Well, that was laid to rest for us this Christmas. Just received a present in the mail from one of hubby’s partner.  She mentioned that we should have a better year in 2011 since she knew that for us, 2010 basically sucked. She sent it with some rather huge straws…. (Her's is the big one. The regular bottle came from an associate.)

I have never seen a bottle of scotch that big. Woohoo.

The year did end on some good notes for us. HSB had his meds readjusted and is doing so much better, he has a new friend and went to that friend's New Year's Day party where HSB was the center of the girl's attention. He was also accepted Early Decision into the same college where collegeman goes. So hopefully we will not have any problems getting him the same accommodations. Collegeman is the same (which is mostly good) and progressing in the social realm. He is planning to take the LSATs in October and we will be spending the better part of the year trying to get him extended time with a computer for that test (this crap just never ends). We will see what the future holds. Meanwhile, that parenting nuclear energy will take us into the new year and beyond. Hold on to your hats everyone. Here's to a great year to come. Hopefully it will even mean that hubby and I will get a good night's sleep.

Until next time,

Elise