Our Journey Raising Two Children with Special Needs

This blog chronicles our life raising two children, Nicholas 14, diagnosed with Prader-Willi Syndrome and Weston 17, diagnosed with Autism/Asperger's/ADHD. It's the ups, the downs, the joys, the sorrows and most importantly, the beauty of living a life less perfect, a life more meaningful.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Minimalist Mothering

Today, I took Weston to the eye doctor.

It is very unusual for Weston and me to spend time alone together. As a teenage boy, these days, he tries to get as far away from me as possible. Any public display of maternal love is strictly prohibited and followed immediately with a panic stricken....


Yes, Dad is definitely the preferred parent in the eyes of my 13-year-old.

I understand my young son's need to cut the apron strings. It is an important first step in developing his independence. It is his way of letting me know he is ready to become an adult.

But parenting from afar is not that easy.

Lately, I am experimenting with some new techniques. My latest mothering motto comes from one of our founding fathers. I think it was Thomas Jefferson who said, never use two words when one will do. So, in an effort to become more word-thrifty, I have begun to implement the use of single key words, introducing them strategically into our short conversations. This "going green with words technique" seems to guarantee better results when trying to penetrate the reluctant ears of my headphone-clad son.

But I question the effectiveness of this "woman of few words" maneuver and wonder whether my downsized parenting contributions will have any effect on the behavior of my wanna-be man.

Today, I was pleasantly surprised.

I parked my vehicle as close to the professional building as possible. With a temperature outside of 2 degrees, Weston and I did not want to walk too far. We ran into the lobby where there were several folks waiting for the elavator to return to the ground floor.

"Bing" sounded the bell, and my impulsive son headed immediately toward the door.

"Wait," I suggested in my new minimalist language.

Sure enough, as the doors opened, a swarm of patients flooded the lobby, pushing Weston back toward the rest of us. The woman beside me shot a disapproving glance toward my impatient child. As the last person exited the elevator, Weston once again sprang to the front. But this time, he stood in front of the doors. He used his arms to hold back the heavy metal panels and waited patiently for each person to enter the elevator. The woman with the once disapproving glance now smiled brightly at the polite young man holding the door. As he entered the elevator, he asked each person which floor they wanted and pressed the cooresponding button on the lighted panel.

Weston's small act of kindness toward others made me realize that despite my lack of verboseness, perhaps he is his mother's son after all.

But my good feeling was fleeting for as we entered the doctor's office, Weston grabbed a seat by the window and pleaded,

"Mom, please don't sit beside me."