Motherly Love

December 17, 2018 at 4:10 pm 2 comments

Until last spring when I accepted a job running a small environmental education non-profit, I was teaching anthropology at the local community college. I loved the job, and I can say that I was loved by my students. I went above and beyond to help students who needed it, allowed all voices to be heard, and met students where they were. My philosophy of teaching was not to tell the students what to think, but to teach in a way that made them think, wherever that led them.

I often wondered why I found relationships with students – which most definitely took on a motherly tone – so easy and rewarding compared to my relationship with C, which was difficult and frustrating. Clearly, I could distance myself from students in a way I couldn’t with C because he is my kid, and mother him I must, even in the darkest of days. I knew this in my head, but in my heart it hurt that I couldn’t enjoy C in the same way I could my students.

But maybe, I have since realized, that is not the point. Mothering, I suppose, is doing what needs to be done for your kiddo, whatever that may be. Much like my teaching philosophy, I think I just need to meet C wherever he is, give him what he needs from me, and not worry about what I think I need from him. Mothering C has never been typical in any way, and perhaps I should stop wanting that from him.

A group of students found their way into my life and filled that need for me. In that way, they have given me far more than I ever gave them. Last week, while a bunch of them were over for dinner, I was aglow in the noise and joy in the house. I found myself so ridiculously grateful that these kids were here, letting me feed them, sharing stories, laughing, playing games, and having a good time. Frankly, letting me mother them in a way I don’t really get to do with C. Giving me a glimpse into something different, and not with regret, but thankfulness that with these students, I can be the kind of mother C doesn’t let me be, doesn’t want me to be, and maybe doesn’t really need me to be.

Entry filed under: autism. Tags: , , , , , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sally  |  December 17, 2018 at 10:14 pm

    I don’t know if any mother really can do their best job as “mother” with their own kid and have that easy loving feeling. It is hard work, sometimes wonderful and rewarding, and always not about us! You have done a fabulous job at the toughest, most rewarding role we have!❤️

    Reply
    • 2. asdmommy  |  December 17, 2018 at 10:49 pm

      Even though I’ve only known you since we moved here, you have been a great role model to me with your older version of C. I really do look up to you in that way, my friend.

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