Friday, July 9, 2010

The Universe Is Not Unfolding the Way It Should

Back to Tarot! Here is one of my favourite cards from the Morgan Tarot!

Morgan's interpretation of the card:

"Actually the universe is unfolding the only way it can -- the way it is.

Someone once said, "The most difficult lesson we have to learn is that we are always in the right place at the right time."

The basic message here is that regret and guilt are not useful emotions."

So how is that for a message that rocks???

This card comes up for me a lot as a mom.

I want to give my children everything possible, and many things are within my reach: a good education, good lessons, a great garden (too bad they all HATE my tomatoes), good friends. When two of my children were diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders, I know many friends and family commiserated with me, seeing their diagnoses as a huge challenge. (And sometimes the reality of autism is a huge challenge. The diagnoses, however, were wonderful because a diagnosis means getting help!) And I know, that for some in my family, autism seemed like a death sentence and overwhelming burden.

But not for me.

I've gotten my special needs kids some of the best services available in the United States, and in the process, found myself entering a new world for me - one of support, acceptance and kindness. Therapists have not always agreed with my decisions for my kids (therapists tend to dislike homeschooling), but in general, my kids have been so successful in mainstreaming that even the most public school committed doctor has had to acquiesce to my decision. And all over, teachers, musicians, actors, dancers, therapists, and other parents, greet me with huge hugs and overwhelming praise. A bit much for a former juvenile delinquent.

More importantly, I have learned with my kids that together we can do anything. Parenting has been the most healing activity in my life. This dreadlocked, nose-ringed, tattooed mom is welcome at churches, afterschool programs, and therapeutic services, when back before parenting I felt like a stranger and outcast wherever I went! (Don't forget, gentle readers, that back in the 1990's people still routinely asked if lesbians should even be allowed to adopt children!)

On the other hand, there are things I haven't been able to give my children. A loving and accepting extended family has eluded me. I can't force my relatives to accept autism, to help with the issues my children face, or even to accept me. I can't force my relatives to get some social skills training they need, and I can't stop them from feeling angry and threatened when my children get therapeutic interventions they might just need themselves. I can choose school programs, but sadly, I can't choose how everyone else deals with disability. And it is sad indeed, that for my multiracial kids in a lesbian family, the biggest discrimination we face DAILY is ableism.

So back to the universe, unfolding away as we unfold ourselves. Autism has never seemed an example of the universe not being as it should, though I want my children to confront their disabilities and learn to have as many behavioral options as possible. I am not writing here that parents should "accept" autistic kids without also finding as many interventions and giving autistic children as many choices as possible.

And yet, I have done the "I should have given them more" Mommy guilt.

When I get this card, it is a lovely and gentle reminder to me. I can and have fought autism, and ableism, but sometimes the universe continues on its way no matter what I do. I can't change everything for my kids, but I can dance within the life that is dealt us. Autism has shaped my parenting, my wonderful relationships with my fabulous children, and given me new perspectives on myself as acceptable and even embraced.

Is the universe unfolding the way it should? Well, from my limited viewpoint, it is hard to know. However, my kids and I are unfolding the way we should be, to ever more creative skills and ever more loving circles.

As " a piece of the continent, a part of the main," this corner of the universe is grooving.

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