Yesterday during Riley's ballet class, the 3 remaining homeschool moms (her class used to be mostly homeschoolers) and I started a conversation about high school. With my emotions running high, I fought back tears as I described some of my recent struggles. Later as we were leaving, one of the moms said, "You know... it's just part of being a mom, to worry about what the future holds for your child. I know you have it to a greater extent than others, but it's just a part of parenting."
That was a mini "a-ha" moment for me, and it recalled a conversation I just had recently with Austin where we were discussing his social anxiety. He had told me that he doesn't talk much in public because he's afraid of saying the wrong thing and looking stupid. I assured him that most teenagers are worried about the exact same thing - autistic or not. He was actually quite surprised - I'm not even sure he really believed me, but rather just thought I was saying that to make him feel better.
So going on the premise that it's not unusual to be concerned about my teenager's future, realizing that I tend to worry more than most (even though I know that I'm supposed to TRUST God and not worry), I will devote this post to a few things that have given me glimmers of hope recently.
1. The biggest one happened during church on Sunday. Reece had taken a squishy toy with her like she usually does, to calm her during the service, but she was 'juggling' it during worship time. I told her not to do it or I would have to take it away. She got upset and she crawled under the chairs. We're in the front row, so it's not like we're invisible - and I was worried that it would distract dh on stage leading worship. But I ignored it until worship was over, and then motioned to have her come sit on my lap. She actually got over it all fairly quickly, and I was thanking God to myself while we were singing "Indescribable", when I noticed that she was singing along. I started to cry at the overwhelming emotion of it all - not only had she pulled it together so quickly, but she was actually singing along when just a few months ago merely being IN the service was still quite overwhelming for her!
2. Math is still going really well for Reece. I love having something for her that gives her confidence in her abilities as a learner! It really makes ALL of her lessons smoother as a result.
3. Riley is doing much better with time management. Her schedule is incredibly full with 3 days a week of dance, one day of glee club/theater class, and youth group on the fifth day. She is easily distracted, and would piddle her time away, and still be working late into the evening. While I don't like having to put a time limit on her lessons, it's necessary for this year. If possible next year, we will need to scale back on her activities... or maybe her classes will fall later in the evening and it won't be such a crunch to get her where she needs to be. Regardless, she has learned that I'm serious when I mean the work needs to be done before dance class. She even made herself a little grid for time management (of her own creation!) and she posted it on the board above her desk.
4. We are on track, or even a little bit ahead, in just about all of our subjects! There are a just a couple that are behind, but that's because we started them later than the others. I don't think we've ever been this "on schedule" before. I wish our discussions/narrations were better, but that will be my goal for after the Christmas holidays.
5. Austin really seems to be "getting" fractions, thanks to Key to Fractions. He'll finish the series soon, and move on to Key to Decimals and finally Key to Percents, which should both be easier since it was really fractions that gave him the most trouble. As of right now, I'm planning to keep him going with the "Key to" series for Algebra and Geometry. If he successfully completes those before graduation, I will gladly look into my options at that point! :)
Well, there you go... a bit nicer reading I'm sure! :)