per·sev·er·ate – To repeat a word, gesture, or act insistently or redundantly.
Recently, my husband and I made plans for a “date night” with our son. Weather permitting (which it didn’t), we planned to go on a picnic dinner the following evening. Our date was to include the three of us and our dogs at a local dog park. My husband voiced the idea to our son prior to his bedtime one night this week. The impending evening’s date was the first thing Jackson mentioned upon waking the following morning. And according to Jackson’s teacher (the same day), he apparently “Perseverated on needing day to end so he could get to ‘date’ with mom and dad at dog park.”
I’m just spit balling here, but I don’t think the teacher’s note was written in a favorable tone. And please understand, I don’t think Jackson’s teacher is being overtly critical or mean spirited when she pens notes such as this. (This wasn’t the first time.) But I’ve got to tell you, I also do not instinctively see a negative when I see a note such as this—probably to his teacher’s disappointment. My mind (blessedly) isn’t wired for that.
As challenging as Jackson can be at times, I’m grateful I can see his light shining through. Additionally, I’m able to remind myself of his difficult origins. If it sounds as if I’m trivializing matters, please know I’m not. And I’m also not saying I don’t sometimes lose my cool. I do. (See previous post from 1/23/2014 titled “Fail.”) But I also know I drive myself most crazy when I let people of “authority” into my head. That’s when I start to panic over Jackson’s “differences” and challenges. It’s when we receive back-to-back reports of “defiance” and meltdowns that I literally go into overdrive researching autism spectrum disorder (“ASD”), Asperger’s Syndrome and sensory processing disorder (“SPD”).
With a clear head, at least for this moment, let me tell you what I really see when I read a notation such as the one mentioned above. When I read the word “perseverate,” I see perseverance—a noun meaning steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.
When I see the word “date,” I think of doing an activity with someone you might have a relationship with.
And as for the words “mom and dad,” well those are a given. And they’re really special, considering Jackson’s origins as an orphan who spent his first five months of life in an orphanage in Ethiopia. Truly. Special. I’m beyond humbled with gratitude over the titles “mom” and “dad.” It’s one I sport proudly and don’t take lightly.
Sometimes it’s all about perspective. The definition of which is: The capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance. Thinking back to that same day, and the expectancy of a date night with Greg, Jackson and our dogs and some Chick-fil-A at the dog park? I confess. I perseverated too. That’s the truth. It’s the absolute truth.