Kate, of Finding Cooper’s Voice, was talking about her family’s recent experience at an apple orchard. It was a day of mixed emotions and different challenges and successes for their nine year old autistic son, Cooper. In the video, she gave two narratives about the day. Both were true. She told an upbeat version of the day, full of the positives and only barely touching on the hard parts. The second version was sadder and had more of a downer feel to it. Again, both were true.
The point she was making was that we get to CHOOSE which narrative we want to speak, think, and feel. We get to decide which TRUTH we see and focus on.
How incredible a point. I can certainly learn to do this more.
Today, I took Samuel to the doctor because he woke up with a red, swollen eye. In the spur of the moment, I decided I would also bring Elizabeth with us so that she could have exposure to someone being seen by a doctor without it being a long wait or long visit time.
Here’s my upbeat narrative:
She was happy, so excited to see her favorite doctor, nervous and bouncy that Samuel was the patient. She did great.
She held my hand going in. She talked to the nurse in a few words about what was going on with her big brother, she gave the doctor a hug. She stayed in the room.
She danced around happily/anxiously while the doctor looked with a light into Samuel’s eye. She said, “Ohhhh, scary.” To which I was able to assure her that it wasn’t by checking in with Samuel, who was fine.
She walked with us to the front desk and got a lollipop. We went outside and I asked them if they would stand by a tree so I could take their picture. She understood and obliged. We got in the van and went home. It was perfect. The visit I’d wanted was absolutely perfect.
The sad narrative would just be the exact same story with the understanding that everything I expressed is HUGE to me, that it made me want to cry. That all the little things that happen naturally for my other children, for most children, don’t happen for her. That our tiny little successes with her feel like an absolute giant of a mountain we’ve climbed EVERY TIME.
I want to speak happiness and gratitude. I want to choose to share positive narratives – not woe is her, or woe is me. I want to give parents of a newly diagnosed toddler hope because oh my gosh, THERE IS.
You can watch Kate’s video I’m referencing HERE.