Author: Rebecca Knowlden
Each year my husband and I like to plant a vegetable garden. Last year we built some raised planter beds and thought we had the perfect setup for a future bountiful harvest. But our garden did not grow as we planned. So this year we knew better, we knew what grew last year and what did not! So this year we had a full garden of lettuce and herbs! We were more successful this year because of what we learned last year!
Last year we thought knew what would produce a great harvest. I was raised in Texas and spent a lot of time around my grandparent’s farm. It was amazing. You’d till-up the soil, plant the seed, water it and then seemingly within days you’d have a mature plant. Well, apparently the Texas sunshine works better than Pacific Northwest clouds. After planting herbs, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, pumpkins, onions, corn, beans, and broccoli…..nothing happened. My plants were growing at a snail’s pace (and the slugs were moving in for the kill). Finally, two and a half months after planting the first seeds, a couple of little tomatoes showed up, then a bountiful lettuce crop, and lots of herbs. The other things we also planted just did not mature like we expected. The pace remained slow, but the harvest we had hoped for was coming along, but not exactly as we thought.
I think raising a child with autism or a child with special needs is like growing a garden with continuously cloudy weather. It requires lots of time, and nurturing, and pruning, and patience as you trust that the work will produce growth. Sure, there is frustration along the way, but when your efforts bear fruit, (and they will), you get the chance to celebrate even the smallest harvest. Making adjustments along the way (learning from past experiences) and watching what works and what doesn't is important too.
Most of the great things in life require perseverance and time….but they are worth the effort! Keep planting seeds in your child, keep nurturing their growth, and be confident that your efforts will bear fruit. And remember to enjoy the harvest, no matter how big or small!