How You Know When You Did Your Job Right
Sorry about the picture quality. My camera needs some upgrading.
As parents, I think we all feel like failures from time to time. There are those days when it seems we just can't do anything right and it feels like our kids are going to be the most messed up individuals on the face of the earth when they grow up. If you are like me, you feel that way a lot because so many things sneak in to steal that precious time away and it seems like they grow on an accelerated speed. I remember bringing my oldest son, Marc Anthony, home from the hospital almost a decade ago and I can't believe how fast the time has gone by.
Sometimes, though, our kids remind us what we are doing right. I got a few little reminders tonight that made me smile.
Marc had a concert at school tonight and we all went to support him. This is no small feat with three kids in tow but we did get it accomplished. When we got to the school, we all walked down to Marc's classroom to drop him off and then we went back to the auditorium to wait for the show to start.
My little Loree saw my little sister, Tonya, sitting a few rows behind us. She doesn't see much of my side of the family because they are practicing Jehovah's Witnesses and I have been disfellowshipped for many years. Even so, Loree recognized her aunt and went up and asked her if she could give her a hug. Then she ran back down to sit with us. Then went back and climbed up in Tonya's lap and stayed there for the whole concert. Even at 4 years old, she understands religion shouldn't separate families.
Travis, who usually detests crowds because of his autism, was ready to face them all to support his brother and support him, he did. He started out sitting by us but the crowd was a little scary for him so when he saw his uncle, Tonya's husband Andy, standing in the back of the auditorium by the door, he jumped up and ran back to stand beside him. It was really kind of cute because they are both kind of stocky built and it looked like Andy had a Mini-Me following him around.
When the program started, Travis yelled "Go Marc!" at the top of his lungs and proceeded to yell similar encouragements at the end, and sometimes middle, of every song, whether his brother was actually part of the arrangement or not. He really enjoyed standing in the back because he had more room to move around and get into his cheering, which included clapping his hands and dancing. He definitely knows how to cheer his side on.
This was the one that really touched home and motivated me to write this hub. Marc is a performer. He loves to sing and play music. He loves the attention and the spotlight. He and his classmates put on an awesome show but that isn't why I am writing this.
The reason I decided to write this is something else he did tonight that most of the people there probably won't fully appreciate. To understand why it was so important, there are things you have to understand about Marc. He has ADHD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and a few other issues that make him very particular about having his own personal space. Touching this child without invitation is tantamount to reaching into a lions mouth. I don't say this to criticize. I say this to help you understand why the next part of the story is so important.
Marc was placed on the front row of the stage next to a young handicapped boy. The boy was standing but you could tell it was really difficult for him to do so. A few minutes into the performance, you could already see this young man was not going to be able to stand on his own for the whole performance. Marc noticed too... Without being asked, he stepped a little closer to the boy and let him lean on his shoulder when he needed to. They both made it through the entire performance, standing side by side. It was in that performance that I am very proud. Marc overcame his own personal fears and helped a friend who need him, something I have seen a lot of adults fail to do. That's the moment when you know something got through.
Those little reminders are when you know you did your job right. When your child does the right thing without being prompted. When they know how to support their brothers. When they recognize the value of family. There are few moments in a parents life that come close to that experience and I am proud to say that my wife and I were the recipients of that experience tonight. Maybe we're not the best parents in the world, but, thanks to my kids actions, I know we're doing something right.
The kids still give me little reminders.
The oldest boy,Marc, is 17 and a senior in high school. He won a writing contest this year (The Bradley Good Citizen Award). He also got a job and helps with bills regularly.
Travis, the middle child, is 14. He's very bright and has made a lot of friends despite his autism and social anxiety. He was in the school music program this year and, though his daily clothing choice is sweat pants and a tee shirt, he decided to wear a suit for the show. He looked so mature and handsome. He loves to build little gadgets and gizmos and he is a HUGE fan of Minecraft.
Loree, the youngest, is 12. She is growing so quickly and is fascinated with hair and style. She designs her own outfits and she loves to dress up for any occasion. She's got one hell of a temper but she also steps right up to help if her friends need a strong voice to protect them.