Mafe Maria: Personal stories by autism parent mentor, Maria Stultz

Rose Colored Glasses

I’m thinking about our upcoming trip back to the Autism Treatment Center of America for an Intensive week… Same “challenges” than last year: A long day in airports, planes, and roads with a child and luggage, away from our kitchen. A single day to get there before our program begins (and a lot of money would probably not be refunded if we were not there on time). I will need to bring some food (if I want any or all of us to stay in our special diet). I will need to pack and carry clothes, diapers, personal care items, activities, comfort objects, some food, and kitchen tools to have with us during the trip and the week.

Last year this situation was terribly stressing for me:

  1. Getting up early, getting Joaquin dressed and out the door on time, packing all the stuff in our car, driving to the airport, checking in, going through security, getting on the plane, begging to be allowed to board early, installing the child straps, hoping that we would have enough space for our hand luggage containing SCD food, Joaquin toys and activities, laptop, and personal cannot-live-without items… was stressful
  2. Preparing SCD breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner for 3 people ahead of time, and packing, and carrying all that food was annoying, time-consuming, inconvenient… How I hated being trapped in this diet!
  3. Joaquin possibly crying or tantrumming at any time was stressing, embarrassing, annoying… something to prevent at all cost.
  4. The possibility of losing our luggage was stressing… I was certain that I would be powerlessly unhappy if the stuff I packed didn’t reach our destiny with us.
  5. The possibility of losing our flight connection, or something going wrong with the car rental, the child car seat, or us getting lost and not getting there on time, perhaps having to spend an extra night in some hotel without the SCD food, getting there one day later (losing all that money!) was extremely stressful, undesirable… I begged “please God don’t let that happen”.

This morning as I picture in my mind the same trip coming up, I revisit all those scenarios I was mentally fighting with, desperately trying to push out of existence, and I can’t come up with a single situation in which I’m certain that I will be unhappy:

Joaquin goes crazy and all the passengers look at me wanting to eat me, maybe they tell me or Joaquin something (happened last time), maybe they yell, call me a bad parent, spit on me in anger… Fine.

Maybe one gets up and shoots the three of us with a gun… Fine.

I lose all my food and our only way of calming our hunger is eating food that may have gluten, casein, sugar and preservatives… Fine.

This makes Joaquin go crazy, become cathatonic, be completely exclusive with the child facilitators for one week… Fine.

We don’t get there on time, our program starts Tuesday, or Wednesday, and they don’t refund the thousands of dollars that the missing days cost us… Fine.

We lose all of our bags; have to start Monday on the same clothes we were the day before. No new diapers for Joaquin… Fine.

The plan crashes, we die, or become paralyzed, or get badly burned, or go in a coma… Fine.

I lose my mojo, go depressed, cry all week, and look and feel like a total Son-Rise beginner who has a long way to accept and love her child’s autism (happened last time)… BRING IT ON!… I look forward to the amazing opportunity of further liberation that such case would be bringing.

What else?… A million more other terrible scenes (rape, losing Joaquin, one of us dying or getting sick, missing the whole week, etc)…

The truth is, I can’t be certain that if any of these scenarios happened I would indeed be fine. I’ll see what happens when it happens. But I’m not scared of any of those possibilities right now.

I’m thinking of the many food choices we have that would make our trip cozy and enjoyable, and I know that I will enjoy preparing everything because, oh my God! How much more delicious this food is versus airport junk and cheap airplane meals… And I know the peace, love, and fun I have in me when Joaquin acts unhappy (and magically, now that I feel this way, the situation doesn’t even arise)… And now that I enjoy doing the things that need to be done to match a certain intention because I no longer categorize them as “worthy” or “unworthy” and I don’t care how long they take…

This is what freedom feels like.
It is HEAVEN on Earth.
As long as I can keep in me what I know now, I cannot go back to hell.

Welcome to my parent mentoring service

Hello, you Super mom of an Awesome autistic child.

If my experience and words speak to you, I invite you to learn about my mentoring service for autism parents.

Intentional parenting, development, and education for our children is my passion. My purpose is to empower you with the emotional and practical support you need to thrive as you reach for every outcome you dream of for you and your child’s life.

Learn More

One comment:

  1. On , Bonni wrote:

    Suzy said something on Saturday that helped me to align with all that we are.
    In the midst of the turmoil I can breath and intend…” I command with ease and grace to move through this experience.” It is a commanding of energy not a demanding…it will flow following our intention in that moment to move through with ease and grace. Ah…..