Sometimes, when you’re busy being a mum, you forget how keenly your words and actions impact on the lives of your children.
Last night my lovely daughter reminded me of this in the nicest possible way.
You see, over the course of the last week , we’ve both come down with a truly horrible flu.
My daughter came down with it first and after two days of coughing and feeling utterly blue she woke me up in the middle of the night to tell me that her head felt like it was exploding on the inside.
Without thinking twice I jumped up out of bed to check her temperature and then gave her some juice and some paracetamol.
Once those few things were done I invited her to snuggle up with me in bed and promised her that I’d watch over her all night.
Not long after she’d settled into my bed she rolled over and said;
“Oh mother…. I do believe I may well be in my final hours”.
As dramatic as her words sounded, instead of denying her the right to speak her feelings by rushing in and trying to tell her that she was wrong, I once again reassured her that I would be watching over her all night long and then asked her if she’d like me to get her an icy pole to soothe her dry, sore throat.
She agreed to the icy pole immediately and not long after eating it, fell into a deep, sound sleep.
By the time the morning arrived I too had begun to come down with the same dreaded flu.
So we both went off to visit our local doctor who found that my lovely girl had developed an ear infection on top of the flu, which is why she’d felt like her head was “exploding on the inside”.
As for me, well I’d already been in the throes of fighting off a sinus infection, as well as catching the flu, so antibiotics and lots of rest were prescribed for both of us.
Later that night I developed a massive migraine as a side effect of the antibiotics.
In response to my migraine misery, not only did my daughter make a point of coming in and checking on me all through the night, but each and every time she came into my room she would ask me:
“What can I do to make you feel better mum? Can I get you a glass of water? Would you like an icy pole? Do you want me to hold your hand?”
Each time she did this I thanked her for being so kind and thoughtful and each time she would say “It’s okay mum, I know how bad it feels when you’re head’s exploding on the inside.”
The next day, after the migraine had washed away, I once again experienced those same feelings of both extreme love and gratitude for the way my daughter had chosen to love and support me throughout my own night of “final hours”.
When I tried once again to thank her for being so wonderful, she looked at me in confusion and said;
“Mum, why do you keep thanking me? I was only doing to you what you did for me when I felt like my head was exploding?”
Her words really made me stop and think, not only about the importance of the way I had responded to her when she had been feeling so ill, but the importance of the ways that I respond to her on a daily basis and how all of the small kindnesses that I shower her with are now coming out in her personality, despite the fact that many believe that children like my daughter are incapable of showing empathy towards others.
You see, my lovely daughter has High Functioning Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome and many mistakenly think that children and adults with HFA/AS aren’t able to either experience or express empathy for the suffering of others.
Well, I’m here to tell you that my daughter and many like her, can and do experience empathy towards others.
Especially when they grow up being surrounded by both the benefits and the acknowledgement of having empathy shown towards the unique ways in which they experience every aspect of their lives.
So even though sometimes, when you’re busy being a special needs mum and you forget just how keenly you’re words and actions impact on the lives of your children, you may just discover that your children will find their own unique ways to remind you of just how important your words and actions are to them.
And hopefully you too will experience this reminder in the nicest of all possible ways.
- All the mums that I am (or – what’s the hardest thing about having children?) (lastmother.wordpress.com)
- This is not my mum (nhsiq.wordpress.com)
- In the arms of the angel (pinchmyself.org)
- Sparkles and special things (wendtonwheels.wordpress.com)