Be Happy Anyway

Be Happy Anyway
From Brave Girls Club

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

What a Whiner!

I know it...I can't help it, but I am making a concerted effort to stop whining in one particular area of my life and that is how far and how often I have to drive to get my children's various therapies.

On my son's third birthday, he was not talking very much if at all. He had many ear infections and the pediatrician referred him for speech and hearing testing. After several referrals and tests, the health plan agreed to provide him with speech therapy.

Rewind. My beautiful daughter had always been a little different. At age three, she could stare straight through you. My cousin's husband scolded her in a very strong voice (loud enough to make my heart stop,) but it didn't faze her in the least. She just kept staring at him like he was the one with the problem. I didn't think much of it but noticed over the years her inability to pick up on social cues, observe personal space boundaries, handle even the slightest change in plans, and many other assorted oddities that I couldn't explain away. By the time she was 9, I had to take her to the pediatrician for my concerns. After trips to the psychiatrist and therapist, we found she was on the mild end of the autism spectrum with Asperger's Syndrome. Now I have taught a few children with Asperger's, so in the scheme of things, I have found she is not as severe as others, but it was still a condition I wanted her to have help with.

Thus began the weekly, then bi-weekly, finally monthly visits to the therapist for my daughter. Then my son began his bi-weekly visits for speech therapy. I began to complain inwardly then outwardly about having to drive the 36.2 miles from my town to the hospital, especially when gas was $4 a gallon. People were sympathetic to my "plight," so I continued my whining.

This morning, I heard a man named Jeff on the radio that made me change my tune. The station I listen to has been putting together their own little record book of things like, "Which listener has given birth to the most children?" (Octamom would have had the winner beat.) Or "Which listener has the longest commute?" This turned out to be a man who drives 3 hours and 26 minutes (according to mapquest) from home to work four days a week. What would possess a person to do such a thing, you might ask? Well I heard the most touching thing ever. Jeff worked for the State of Texas for many years when he had a daughter with special needs. In 1999, he moved to Azle, TX to be nearer to his daughter's healthcare provider at Cook Children's Hospital. He only had 10 years until retirement (which in the Texas system is a good deal.) So for the past ten years he has driven three and a half hours each way to work and back just so his daughter can have the best care possible for her special needs. I can't imagine the dedication it would take to make this commute one year, let alone 10 years. He certainly deserves to be recognized even if it is just on a local radio show's website.

I wish Jeff well and will continue to use his daily pilgrimage as a reminder that there are bigger problems out there than my having to drive a measly 36.2 miles to have my children's needs taken care of.

Thank you Jeff for giving me a much needed reality check.


Reality is what we take to be true.
What we take to be true is what we believe.
What we believe is based upon our perceptions.
What we perceive depends upon what we look for.
What we look for depends upon what we think.
What we think depends upon what we perceive.
What we perceive determines what we believe.
What we believe determines what we take to be true.
What we take to be true is our reality.

~ Gary Zukav ~


MrsPeel said...

Funny you posting this, because after (don't remember in which form, maybe email? SB comment?) I read that Caitlin has Aspergers, I've been meaning to write to you, and every day, when I just turned the computer off, I remember and curse my memory. I think about you a lot during my day.
I have a very, very good friend of mine who is married to an Aspergers guy, they met online, believe it or not, then she went to Australia with a year visa...things worked out brilliantly, they married (if I'm not mistaken it's gonna be 5 years now) and have a beautiful life (I miss her like mad)
Another girl I m not exactly friends (I was er interpreter when she was pregnant in 94, she a Cuban on assylum visa, I the hospital interpreter and health advocate) discovered that her son had Aspergers when he was probably 3....
Sarita is friends with this boy, who is a year older than she is and, I have to say, as I can see and by what I know of the condition, they are very gifted children when properly directed, with support and love, they can have a life full of achievemnts and development....
And as for the whining....I know the feeling.
I wasn't as lucky as you were, it took me a long time and the help of a therapist (or two!) to start seeing life with a different filter....

You are a great woman, Annemarie, I admire you deeply, and I know that, from time to time, complaining when one deals with a difficult life only human.
Lots of love to you all

MrsPeel said...

oh, forgot, just a question:
how do you posted your banner here?
Roban has made her own background too, I would like to at least have my own banner....

Fly Girl said...

Nothing like a wake-up call like that to make us see things more clearly. Gratitude and abundance seem to hide from us in our busy lives. I definitely know what you mean!

Glad your view is a little rosier... (And a little whining never hurt anything!)


miruspeg said...

Very interesting post Annemarie.
We all whine, sometimes its the only way to get those negative thoughts out of our head.
I love how you ended the post with REALITY.
If we can travel the full circle we have greater understanding.

MJ said...

You are right. I understand your complaints too.

Every so often, when I am feeling sorry for myself (which is likely more often that I should be permitted), I think of what the parents of the severely disabled children in N's preschool class go through daily. The degrees of patience, dedication, and love that parents muster for their children. They are amazing.

Octamom said...

What a great tribute to an awesome dad!

While I can't claim those kind of driving miles, we have chosen to leave 4 of 8's audiological and auditory verbal therapy with AVT Coach and Hearts for Hearing in Oklahoma City. It means lots of driving every three months, but is so worth it. It is a blessing as a parent to have someone in 4 of 8's life worth driving that much for!


avtcoach said...

Parents to make the most amazing commitments for their children and the results of that are that their children do the best. While it is a hard road, it will be one worthy of travel when at the end, the child has been given the best of opportunities. I marvel at all of you commited parents everyday. I don't see the whine as a bad thing, we have to have ebb and flow of emotion to make it on the other side the healthiest we can!!

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