This weekend we were travelling to see my mum for her birthday. We had booked a cottage to stay overnight Saturday and as it had been a busy week we left packing to the last minute. On Saturday morning I woke my daughter an hour before we were to leave so she could avoid getting dressed for half an hour and do her hair for the other half. I then went back to sleep and left myself twenty minutes to get up and ready, pack, put everything in my friends car and leave.
Other than the usual telling everyone to get in the car five million times, going on a travel sickness pill hunt and kids getting in the car and out again repeatedly to retrieve forgotten important items, everything was going quite well.
My daughter made one final decision to bring more clothes and hair curlers and as my friend started the engine and I locked the house, she opened the boot to put them in.
Finally we were all in the car. My friend asked everyone if we had everything, we all said yes and off we went.
About five minutes from my house is a petrol station and we stopped to fill up the car. My friend got out and announced that the boot was open. It wasn’t a bit open, it was wide open and there was a present shaped gap near the front!
We jumped back in the car and drove as fast as we could back home, looking for the present on the way. As we drove I saw the funny side of the situation and I started to laugh. My friend did not find it at all funny. She was actually a bit cross about the whole situation. I just couldn’t get the vision of us driving to the petrol station with the boot open, losing luggage as we went out of my head. I couldn’t help wondering what the people at the petrol station were thinking when we drove in with the boot wide open, got out, looked at it, shut it, got back in the car and drove off very quickly. I couldn’t stop thinking how it might be funny to watch us leave our house with presents flying out of the car. I laughed until I cried and the kids did too.
The problem was the more I found it amusing, the crosser my friend felt and the crosser my friend was, the funnier it became. I cried with laughter as she announced that she had asked us if we had everything before we left.
It all worked out ok in the end. We drove home. The present was sat in the middle of the road waiting patiently for our return and off we went on our journey.
The whole situation was about perspective. My friend was looking at what was going on from the perspective of us being late and that she hadn’t wanted to go back for anything and was feeling cross that the boot was open. The kids and I, however, were looking at the bigger picture and realising in the grand scheme of things it didn’t really matter. This allowed us to see the funny side and laugh at our misfortune.
One day, about a year ago, the boiler in my house broke so there was no heating or hot water. The washing machine was already broken. I decided to make a cup of tea and my kettle blew up! For a few minutes that really got to me, but I was able to shift my perspective and look at the bigger picture. My kids were clothed and fed and we had a roof over our heads. As I boiled a pan of water on the stove I realised instead how lucky I was!
Life with autistic children can be like that sometimes. We can be caught up at the end of a bad day with a child having a meltdown because school was terrible and feel like the world is against us. We can be fighting with a PDAer trying to leave the house feeling like we cant keep doing it. We can be in the middle of the biggest battle of our lives to get a place in the right school. We might be feeling like life is terrible at those points but we can also take a step back from the situation and look at the bigger picture. We can see that meltdown and even that day as a blip and remind ourselves of the things we do have and sometimes even see the funny side.
Where is your perspective coming from today? Would it help to take a step back and look at the bigger picture?