I almost cried in the library last Thursday. My seven-year-old son agreed with a happy willing spirit to try wearing the name tag on yarn around his neck at story time. He doesn’t like the feeling of the yarn on his neck. Frankly, he doesn’t like to wear anything around his neck. For three years he has not worn a name tag around his neck. In the beginning it caused great grief, tears, and anguish. Then we just found other ways to wear the name tag and our kind children’s librarian was ok with that.
Being out of safety pins, I asked Dr. J if he would try it, expecting a no. Surprisingly, he said, “I think I can try that.”
He also put it on by himself without my having to go in the room with him. I watched through the huge glass window like a new mom watches through the hospital nursery window. I was just about as proud. I said to the mom standing next to me, “That’s the first time he’s ever worn a name tag around his neck.” She said, “That’s great! He’s doing such a great job!”
Do you see what happened there? Here is one power of a victory–it draws in others. I was celebrating this small thing, that my first grader would leave a name tag around his neck. The kind mom next to me understood that it was important to me, and she took the time to celebrate with me. It deeply touched me that at the end of story time, she stood next to me and watched as my son exited the story room with the name tag still in tact. “He’s still got it on!” she exclaimed and rejoiced with me. Autism parents, you know how far that went. I cry as I think about her kindness.
Here’s a second power of a victory–they lead to other victories. This particular victory was preceded by another. You see, before Dr. J could wear a name tag around his neck, he had to be able to attend story time. He has been able to go by himself. Three years ago that was not possible.
Be patient, dear readers. Whatever you are facing–special needs, financial stress, physical challenges, personal struggles–keep plugging away. I know a mom who waited 18 years for her son to be able to open a jar by himself. Through those 18 years this mom has helped many special needs parents. A lady on my review team waited 13 years for her marriage to turn around and now she encourages other wives. I did not wait decades, but some moments it sure felt that way. Some days I wondered why I bothered taking Dr. J to the library when all it did was create stress.
Keep going toward that one victory. When you reach it, celebrate. Remember it during the tough times. Rejoice with others who find cause to celebrate. Enjoy the power of one victory.
Then move on toward the next.
Special needs parents, if you need further encouragement, here’s a great post 17 Things the Princess Bride Taught Me about Autism Parenting. Enjoy!