Your Focus Determines Your Reality
Qui Gon Jinn
I was on my tippy toes, crouched like a catcher begging my daughter to pee in a cup. You could hear her voicing her protests. “Goodbye!” “See you later!” “Time to go!” She took the little bucket that fit over the toilet and threw it across the room. Those were her unique ways of letting us know she was mad! I couldn’t really blame her. Let’s be realistic, most typical teens would not want their dads in the bathroom trying to help them pee in a cup. Yelling, kicking, and pushing be darned I was going to get that urine sample. Did I get it? Yeah, I got it. She filled the cup and pushed me away. I held on to the cup and ended up wearing most of its contents. Most, not all! I had just enough left in the cup to help the doctor run her tests. I was on the bathroom floor, covered in pee, smiling because I won!
Meanwhile at the Store….
We were checking out. We had picked up everything on the list.
Microwave Popcorn CHECK
Bug Spray Check
Coke a Cola CHECK
It was a Saturday. The store was super busy, but so far the whole trip was going well. I turned to load a few bags into my cart and my son took off for the back of the store. What do I do? I looked at the apathetic cashier. No help. I looked at the seven others in line behind me. They were as helpful as the cashier. I looked at my youngest and set her loose!
“MK go get him!” She over mothers her older brother and was an eager to track him down. She took off right behind him. After a second or two, no one came back. So I left my groceries, the cashier, and the line to go track down my kids. I found my son and daughter a few aisles back. He had picked up a toy lightsaber and was trying to open a Hello Kitty Pinata. It was awesome. I quickly got everyone back to the line and paid for our groceries. The cashier was not helpful and no one in line was happy. It didn’t matter we were still winning.
That night at the movies….
We were having a great night. We were finally getting to see Captain America:CIVIL WAR! The story was great. Spider-Man was truly amazing. The scene at the airport was epic. Everything going according to plan. The Dude was great. He was happy. I was happy. Then SPOILER ALERT War Machine got hurt. He was accidentally blasted and was plummeting to ground with Iron Man and Falcon trying to catch him. As soon as he hit the ground, McKade yelled out, “OH MY GOD THEY HURT BLACK IRON MAN!” Now, I have never heard McKade identify anyone by their color before. The best we can determine is that he called him Black Iron Man because War Machine’s suit is dark grey and black. We knew that… no one else in the theater did. Thank goodness everyone in the theater who could have been offended laughed when he said it. They also laughed when I tried to correct him.
Me (whispering)- McKade, Black Iron Man’s name is Rhodey. Call him Rhodey.
McKade (not whispering) – Black Iron Man’s name is Rhodey. We will call Black Iron Man Rhodey. The rest of the movie went off without any more uncomfortable moments. We were still winning.
Winning what? Our Sanity. Like Qui Gon Jinn said, “Your focus determines your reality.” In all of those situations we could have freaked out. We could have yelled. We could have been mortified. In the thirteen years that we have been autism parents, we have had hundreds of situations where we did freak out and had meltdowns too. Those things did not improve our situations and were so counterproductive to what we wanted to teach our kids.
Focus on the good when things go wrong. Yes, at the doctor I ended up with pee all over me. But, I got the sample. We found out what was wrong with Addison and got her medicine. All of those things are good. At the store, well, the store was just funny. How many times do you get to see someone take a lightsaber to Hello Kitty? In hindsight, I was proud of my daughter for being fearless enough to track him down and stay with him until I could get to both of them. Which, believe it or not, is something we have discussed, planned, and practiced. A few years ago, we could not even sit through a movie without 2 buckets of popcorn, 25 bathroom trips, and about 2 meltdowns. He said a few embarrassing things,but he made it through the whole movie.
What you focus on will determine what you take from every situation. Focus on the good and ignore the bad. Smile when you feel like yelling (even if you are covered in pee). Breath when you feel like freaking out. Laugh as much as you can whenever you can.