Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Life at the speed of Rukai | #TransatlanticTuesdays

#TransatlanticTuesdays is a collaboration between me (in the UK) and Kera who blogs at The Special Reds (in the US) - sharing our journeys in the form of letters to one another.

Links to play catch up are at the end of this post.

Dear Kera

Has it been a week? Tuesday to Tuesday doesn't seem so close until it is upon me and suddenly I think, my word, if I don't get cracking our Transatlantic Tuesday will soon become Waterlogged Wednesday and you may wonder was it something you said? Ah, not hardly, but this life does run and race and jet and duck and dive and we chase it like kids on a farm racing after the chickens. Time slips and we dance along best we can to keep up with it.

Your letter last week really grabbed my heart. The friends thing. Friends are the truest family in my life to date, aside from a select few. The strongest of shoulders, the hanky in hand to swab the tears, they are present, they are permanent, they are ALWAYS. I could not do without my true friends. I lost many of the dearest of them for a while and ever so glad to have them back now but this is for another time. Another Tuesday.

Today belongs to your last question which despite the hectic pace of the week, those long drives into work give me plenty of time to ponder: What have you learned from being Rukai's mom that you didn't know before? How have you changed?

Perhaps the most important thing I've learned from being Rukai's mom is this - most people don't really give two monkeys about something if it doesn't directly affect them. It's a bit out there and a bit beyond Rukai but I think in terms of the reality of life trying to do your best by a kid with alternate needs from 'The Norm' that this is probably the most significant thing. It is a block and a hurdle and a mountain and a pit all the same. I have realized that you can halve humanity into 'those who care about other people' and 'those who care about themselves'. Take that horrible 'reality star' (yeah right) who keeps on taking selfies of her naked backside for instance, versus the charities who support our kids. People who work day in and day out to better OTHERS. 

The Self.

What matters most? On what should we focus to provide the right framework of the world in which we live for our children? 

Since Rukai has come into our world, the big has got smaller and the small has got bigger and everything meets in the middle in a place called 'What Rukai Needs.' I have found a new ability to not care much about what others think, especially people who have no serious impact on 'What Rukai Needs'. Because he really IS my world, like I wrote a while ago. He is. There is nothing else that actually matters but earning a crust. For him.

Always for him.

So as life tumbles past us like a dust storm I have also sharpened my focus on watching where his lead takes us and just going at whatever pace that may be. Because he has delayed learning this is usually a much slower pace. And the damnedest thing of all (which is something that I realized on one of those long drives home) is about all this marathon training I've been doing. I was wondering why on earth I actually like long distance running, never having been a runner, when some people find the long slow distance so utterly mind-numbingly boring they'd rather have their teeth drilled than negotiate another two mile incline.

The fact is, I live my LIFE in marathon. I like to take the long road, to stop and examine the wildflowers, to wait for the last car to pass before crossing the street. I enjoy the countryside and loathe the city noise. I wait for everyone to board the train and then get on. If it's too crowded I will sit out till an empty one comes along. I adore the mental space of a slower pace. To go out to explore with the sole purpose of just exploring. When Rukai came along we were told it'd be a slower pace. 

And this is a problem, how?

I have taken that as the truest blessing of all. In this day and age of bigger, better, faster, more, I've got a boy after my own heart. One who lives in the now. Taking the long road. Looking around more. Finding joy in the miniscule. Finding greater joy in the HUGE. The scope of his interest, the bounds of his imagination, why these are beyond anything I may have had with a 'typical' child. So this is the Tiger Mom dilemma on the point of the needle: how many times have we been steered to find a problem in his journey, his pace, his existence, when here as his mom I am entirely comfortable at his pace!

Talk about being in the right place at the right time, with the right boy for the right mom. 

What have I learned and how have I changed? I've learned that we are all 'normal'. I've stopped worrying about what everyone else thinks (well and truly stopped) and I love - more than there are words to explain - living life at the speed of Rukai.

So sayeth Simon and Garfunkel back in that slower time...

'Slow down, you move too fast
Got to make the morning last
Just kicking down the cobblestones
Looking for fun and feeling groovy.'

That's what I've learned.
That's how I've changed.

Thank heavens.

So now it's time to hand that baton back to you, and I know you are by day growing busier than ever but here should be an easy one...

Hints of spring are scooting around these shores and I know there's been a shortage of the white stuff on the ground over there as the weather settles. With the warmer weather on the horizon I'd ask what your biggest concerns or worries are when you get out and about, outside the confines of the safe space of 'Home'. I'm always worried I'll bump into some horrible person who says something for which I'm unprepared and I won't stand up for my son as well as I should. I don't want to be caught off guard. What are those worries for you? How do you prepare to face them?

Until we type again, I'm off to bed for a 6 am start and a quick few miles before hubby goes to work and I'm on my off day with my best boy. Have a great week and look forward to hearing from you.

Signing off from (as my Dad used to say 'Jolly old Englannnnnnnnd!')
Maxine x

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