Words of encouragement sometimes come from the places you’d least expect…
Just the other day I had taken my kids back to King’s Island (still trying to soak in every last bit of summer that we could). The day was hot, and by mid-afternoon I had a pretty cranky bunch to say the least. We also seemed to choose our visit on one of the busiest days of the year. We were nearing the end of our day, ready to soon hit the road and head for home but of course there was a request to ride just one last ride. The particular ride requested was one of the few that all three of my kids are able to ride on, so it seemed like a good choice to end with. Of course, when we get in line, we see that the ride is not currently operating. They did appear to be running empty cars through, which usually meant that they were likely nearly the end of their down time. I thought about just cutting our losses and heading out, but we decided to give the wait a try.
Waiting has never been easy for either of my boys, but neither is dealing with a situation that was promised, and for one reason or another, not able to be delivered. So, at this point, I was honestly doomed in the situation either way. My only hope, as a tired and overheated mom myself, was that the wait would be short enough to manage the crew.
We had some arguing, some whining, a need at one point to make two of my children stand on opposite ends from one another, but nothing too far out of the ordinary for any family with young kids. We managed through and shortly after the ride started back up. So, our only wait at that point was for our turn in line. As we start to move along, I hear this woman beside me say, “You’re doing a great job.”
I look around for a second, wondering where this nice voice was coming from, and realize that this woman was in fact talking to me. I of course have a somewhat confused look on my face, not expecting a compliment for anything at that particular moment in time. She tells me that she has a brother just like my son, and again that “I am doing a great job.”
I have never been a great one at receiving a compliment. I feel like I never really know the right response to give back. Maybe it is because a lot of times I really don’t feel myself like I deserve the compliment at all. Most of the time I feel like I am just doing the “fake it till you make it” game. But all that being said, that doesn’t mean that I don’t genuinely appreciate the compliments when they do come. Honestly, it made my day. Fate sometimes has it that you receive an uplifting message like that in the times that seem like you are struggling the most. My kids were far from behaving good in that line, but we were powering through it the best we knew how, and this woman saw that.
The world is not always great at giving out compliments, maybe that is why I still feel so awkward when I do receive one. But in some ways, that just makes them more powerful when they do come along. So, to all the moms of kiddos on the spectrum who feel like they are just struggling through today, just trying to make it to the end of the long line or through whatever difficulty you are going through, just know that you are not alone. I know you can get sucked into your world sometimes and all the things that you still want to help your child accomplish, and how often you can feel like you are not doing enough. But people can see how hard you are trying. I see how hard you are trying. I KNOW how hard you are trying. And I hope that I am not the first one to tell you that you are doing a great job.