Things you find in the break room at your new job.
I have a lot of thoughts and feelings about this recent election. They’re a moving target though; I can’t seem to pin them down. So, because I’m an avoider of hard things, here’s a picture of my kids from trick or treat a couple weeks ago.
The oldest had to be talked into the Gru costume and only wore it because of the mask (perhaps the promised sack of free candy played a role). The youngest though, he wanted to be a vampire fish. Thanks Zeb Hogan. I kept at him with feasible ideas (ghost?) but he wasn’t having any of it. When he said ‘GIANT squid!??’ with guarded excitement, I thought ‘I can do that’.
And I totally did.
Many parents and early childhood educators take imaginative play for granted. Yet, when you have parented a child in the spectrum, it’s fairly common that your child will struggle with the abstract and feels safer with the concrete. Not every kid on the spectrum struggles with this, but when my oldest was young, imaginative play just wasn’t on the menu.
I bought my oldest all the things I could to encourage imaginative play. I got play silks and dolls and a even constructed a homemade wooden play kitchen. And while he did engage in a little imaginative play here and there, it was still very concrete, and it just didn’t come naturally.
When his sister was 2 and entering that phase of imaginative play, he was 7. She brought him in with her. Watching her turn an ordinary block into a bed or car amazed him and amazed me. Watching him imagine with her brought me to my knees.
I thought with the youngest, seeing him discover imaginative play would be old hat. But when he plays, I still have so many feelings. I never want to interrupt him when he’s in flow with his play. Even though it’s a daily occurrence with him, it’s so deep and complex and I’m still filled with gratitude and awe.
One of the most frustrating parts of this whole election aftermath is people dismissing the pain, the hurt, and the fear being felt in our country.
I wrote this on Facebook after two interactions left me feeling disheartened.
I wrote this after standing in the middle of my city with hundreds of others, holding candles and lights, holding each other, reminding each other that love and compassion will help us navigate our way in this storm.
“So here’s the deal… no one gets to tell you that you shouldn’t feel the way you do. No one is entitled to a justification of your feelings.
People are scared and they are hurting. We must listen to them. That’s what compassion is. It is meeting someone where they are at and holding space for them. Empathy folks, empathy. Telling people to move on, look on the bright side, find the lesson, everything happens for a reason, it’s not that bad, etc, is dismissive. It negates their personal human experience.
I’ve had two conversations with men I have love for. Men who are questioning my experience because it’s not like their own. I’m not calling them out here, but I am using those conversations as a catalyst to express how I feel about having the validity of my experience questioned.
I’m not angry. I’m deeply saddened. I hope that people use these opportunities not to defend their experience, but to find new levels of love and compassion for their fellow humans.
We all have the same organs pulsing life in our bodies. We all bleed the same color. We all deserve love.”
That is all.