Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Find Your Tribe

I've heard the phrase "find your tribe," and to be honest, I always found it irritating. It seemed cutesy, for one thing, and for another thing it's the least helpful advice ever. It's like, "Feeling sick? Stop being ill!" or "Tired of being poor? Just have more money." Exhortations for people to "find their tribe" seemed useless without an accompanying how-to manual. 

I still don't have that manual...however, slowly but surely, I feel like I'm collecting a group of people who "get it" as far as this parenting-outlier-kids thing is concerned. And those relationships are worth cultivating, and those people are worth appreciating, because having people who get it is just awesome.

Today a mom friend of mine chaperoned P's field trip to the art museum. Unfortunately he had a big meltdown in the middle of the museum and it took both this mom and the teacher to calm him down. She texted me about it and then emailed me the blow-by-blow. I was mortified that he'd have a meltdown on a field trip like that, and my mind immediately jumped to what the teachers must have said, what the kids must have said, P being banned from all field trips (hello, anxiety disorder!)...I was crushed. C was sick so instead of receiving this news at work I was at home. I settled C onto the couch with a couple episodes of a cartoon and, unable to settle my mind, I dropped onto the other end of the couch and slept.

I dozed until the cartoon was over, and then I decided to face up to it. I emailed her back, saying how embarrassing that was, how P had made progress in managing his emotions but still lost control of himself sometimes, and thanking her for working with him. I was shocked when I got this back:

Not at all embarassing.  I just felt badly that he found himself in that situation and my efforts failed to calm him.  On what I hope is a positive note, the other students didn't seem to think anything of it. I'm glad you like the pictures and really hope P enjoyed the trip! 

I could almost feel the tension roll off of me. I can't express what it means when someone sees the kids at their lowest, the points where they struggle the most, and get it. P is slowly finding his place, and I'm finding mine.

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