Written by Dionne Johnson
I have been a single parent since my son was five. He is now 40 and I am still around to give a bit of support when he needs a bit of extra cash. Believe me it never ends. I think our kids think that is our purpose on Earth. Having said that I’m glad he is still around. The kind of help I get from him is more in the order of go on Mum, you can do it.
He was twelve when I went to college (for one year) and then on to university. But I was lucky because I still had my Mum and Dad around so I knew when I left him at home with them that he was in the best place he could be. College was all right because being in the further education world they were not in quite the same bracket academically as university (which is higher education). So things like my writing for essays and other written work was considered quite good. Imagine my horror when I got to university and found that my essay writing was not considered quite good anymore. I knew that university would be hard because I was forty-two but I hadn’t expected the depression that accompanied my low marks on written work. I knew that my knowledge of the subjects was not the problem because other students would come to me all the time asking me to explain things to them (like the Marxist labour theory of value, for example). I knew that stuff inside out but one student in particular really rattled me. She was younger than me and was always coming to me for help. Then she would go away and get an ‘A’ for her essay and I would be lucky to get a ‘C-’. It broke my heart but I couldn’t find out what was causing this problem with my work.
When I had first gone to university I had had a serious talk with my conscious and unconscious mind about how we would approach the tasks because at that time I felt the 18-19 year olds with their quick young minds were going to be my biggest problem. I sat on the end of my bed in my room in halls and had a good heart to heart. I told my unconscious mind that her task was to look after all the housekeeping issues. Making sure that I didn’t wear things that clashed horribly; making sure I ate sufficient and at sensible times. You know the sort of things. I went to some lengths to make sure she knew what I wanted. I told my conscious mind – thinking that it was the powerful one academically – that it had to give its full time to my studies. At that time I thought I had done well in getting my troops organized. But something had gone wrong because I couldn’t get the marks for my essays that I wanted.
I didn’t know that I had done something wrong at such a rudimentary level. It was the unconscious that I should have been talking to for my studies and my conscious mind for the housekeeping work. When I looked back on that period later I can remember thinking how excited my unconscious must have been. I had never had a conversation with her previously so she must have been feeling pretty neglected. And all of a sudden I was talking directly to her and giving her instructions of what was required from her. I could imagine her jumping up and down in excitement and clapping her hands together at the thought of being told to run things. I did not know I had unleashed a real bossy boots because she never asked me what I wanted – she always told me what I had to do.
A month or so into my course when I had had to hand in a couple of essays I started to see strange things happening. For instance, as I left a lecture intending to go to the library for some studying, I would find myself walking off in a completely different direction. I was a bit panicked the first couple of times but once I knew what was going on I decided to be relaxed about it and see where my feet took me. It was quite good fun really. My unconscious usually took me somewhere I might be able to find the information I wanted and needed in order to turn around my essays. My destination was always one associated with learning. My unconscious didn’t seem to know a lot about entertaining oneself or having fun. Mind you so far as I knew she might have been having the most fun she could have without getting locked up but she never let me in on that aspect of her life. Her job was to look after me and keep me safe while providing me with what I needed to survive in university. She always took me to doors in the humanities department where she believed I would find the information I needed. If the incumbent was at home their reply when I asked for advice on essay writing was always the same – well I can’t tell you how to do it but I can tell you when you get it right. What a waste of time. Of what good was that to me? But one day she got it exactly right. She took me to Professor Andrew Vincent’s office and when I asked him if he had advice he could give me on essay writing he almost dragged me into his office, plonked me down in an armchair and proceeded to explain using a little blackboard he had on the wall. He explained beautifully in a very short time. So then what? I asked. That’s it, he said. That’s all there is to it. Short of writing the essay for you that’s all I can do, he told me, slightly sarcastically, so I left, thanking him as I went.
Now that my unconscious had succeeded in solving my problem for me I realized I might have to curb her enthusiasm a bit because she seemed to think that my only task was to do exactly as she told me all the time. She was getting a bit too big for her boots so I had to cut back on her freedom a tad because otherwise God knows where we would have ended up.
When I applied Professor Vincent’s method I immediately started to get ‘A’s which I can tell you pleased me no end. From then on I was a straight ‘A’s student. It was great and luckily I hadn’t cut off my unconscious completely and she went on to teach me so many other things that I eventually wrote a programme for people who wanted to learn the basics about getting a university degree. It is so good that you could do it on your own without actually having to go to university but I must say that going to university and all the people of so many different nationalities that I met was the best thing in my life so far.
A Mother’s Passage with Raising an Autistic Child
Story by: Bonetta Lynch
Written by: Brenda C. “LeGeral” Gafford
Anticipation is an expectation of something approaching or forthcoming. A gift is something that is given without a price or cost to the recipient. So now that I have presented myself as a generic version of a Webster Dictionary, let me validate the purpose of the statement. I’ve always believed that God gives us the desires of our heart. He is loving and gives us wonderful gifts. A child is one of them and therefore the expectation is great and should be free of any penalties. However, that wasn’t what it seemed like in my case. I often hear people say God knows what He is doing and we shouldn’t question him. Well, I beg to differ because God needed to give me some answers concerning my son, Christopher, when I was given the news that he was Autistic.
I was told this when he was only five years old and it shattered me like a rock hitting a windshield. It completely obscured the vision I had for him. Now keep in mind, I specifically said the vision “I” had for my son, not God’s vision. This news angered me beyond verbal expression. It made me bitter and frustration totally consumed my soul, paralyzing my total existence. I threw up my arms toward Heaven and asked that old familiar questioned, “Why Me God?”
Witnessing the judgment of people is just the start it. The extreme heartache that I’ve dealt with has been just one of the many elements. When my son was younger, I would often observe how other children would receive invitations to birthday parties, but my son received none. I recall one particular incident, whereas it was told to me, that my son would ruin the celebration. Children and parents, alike, felt very uncomfortable with him. I wondered how people could be so cruel and seemingly ruthless. Calling my son “retarded boy” was just one, of many vicious and malicious references to him. Yes, every single incident crushed me. I would stand in full judgment of these people and scrutinized them for such behavior. However; there was one particular individual that needed to be criticized even more. She did hers in silence, but actually was the worst one and God called her out by name. “Bonetta” was what I heard. “Are you serious God” was all I could muster, through shocked lips! I mean, I love my son beyond what mortal words can express. I defend him, I protect him, I argue for him, I hurt for him, I nuture him, I'm his mother and I would lay down my life for him.
Here I am, a single mom that was dealt with her own physical challenges. I was diagnosed with scoliosis and neuromuscular disease from birth. With all of the discrimination, bigotry and prejudices that I’ve had to endure; now my child has to go through this emotional assignation too. My attitude was like “God, can you show me where I signed on the dotted line for this” and now you are saying that I am the worse one. Please explain that one! God responded with a very simple statement “If you can’t accept your son, with unconditional love, no one else is going to accept him. No matter what Christopher does, it never seems good enough in your eyes”. I was flabbergasted. I didn’t realized that I was filled with so many mixed emotions that couldn’t see the forest for the trees; until God acted as my lumberman and gave me revelation.
Once I came to accept my own malfunctions and corrected them, my son was accepted. Now, at age 16, people embrace him and see the true love within him. We still have those that aren’t as accepting, but his presence is more welcomed now.
Autism appears to be rooted in the very early stages of brain development. The most obvious signs of autism symptoms tend to emerge between 2 and 3 years of age. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Preventions identify around 1 in 88 American children as on the autism spectrum. This is a ten-fold increase in 40 years.
I resigned years ago, from my corporate career as a Mortgage Banker Loan Officer and devoted myself to the cause of autism. I’ve undertaken rigorous and thorough training to better understand it. I have many events and programs for the cause as well. This isn’t just on behalf of my son, but for the incalculable other individuals that are confronted with this challenge.
Was this a “Botched Blessing”, not at all! It was one of God’s best. I hope my story will make people more aware of the effect of the discrimination these individuals receive therefore restraining judgment, but allotting for more acceptance.
Bonetta M. Lynch is a native of Queens, New York and has dedicated her life to inspire and motivate individuals to release their God-given talents. Diagnosed with scoliosis and neuromuscular disease from birth, Bonetta refuses to let her disability or society define who she is. She had learned to “live life” in spite of her challenges and not according to someone else’s standards. Armed with a deep spiritual belief in God, she used her struggles to encourage and inspire others to live their dreams, discover the knowledge and true potential to reach their level of destiny. As a makeup artist for 16 years, she has had the opportunity to use her creative skills in various arenas in fashion video, television, and film for celebrities, political figures and social society. This accomplished business woman runs her mobile notary, process service and production company, “Sister II Sister” Now she has been given the gift to walk in faith to her calling as a newly acclaimed author, writer and life coach. Her recent project as contributing author and write of a new powerful book, “Cheers! To Your Success”, has encouraged her creativity and she is currently working on her first book entitled, “Intimate Soul Talk, Daily Devotionals for the Mind, Body, Soul and Spirit”, which will be completed by the fall of 2011. Besides her passion for volunteer-ism, community awareness and various organizations of Autism Speaks, The Muscular Dystrophy Association, Breast Cancer and Colon Cancer Awareness (just to name a few) her biggest joy is being a proud and loving mother of her beautiful son Christopher, who is autistic. Currently she is completing her B.S. Degree in Human Services / Psychology at SUNY Empire State College in New York. Every great dream begins with a dreamer.
Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. ~Harriet Tubman~
Content copyright 2016. SoLo Parenting Magazine. All rights reserved.
As a little girl, we often dream of having a family of own when we become adults. Some of those dreams come true meaning that little girl as she has grown into a woman meets that “Mr. Right”, gets married and begins her family with children to raise and love unconditionally. For others, those dreams may not turn out just the way they dreamed. For many years, I visualized meeting that “Mr. Right”, getting married and starting a family all of my own. It was at a point in my life that I realized it was not my time to meet that “Mr. Right”, even though I was talking to a man that I thought I could spend the rest of my life with, it just wasn’t meant to be. I began to pray that God would send me either my soul mate or a child that I could offer my unconditional love too. I started to give up on that prayer being answered and turned to the life of living it up, not caring what I did as far as the party life.
On December 23, 2001, God intervened and said I have an early Christmas present for you, my child. It was on that day that I discovered I was with child. I did not know whether to laugh, cry or rejoice. God had heard my prayer and answered it with the best present a person could even dream of and that is a child of their own. In my mind I thought this would be a way that my son’s father and I would grow closer together. Boy… was I wrong!
Throughout my pregnancy, my son’s father was nowhere around and in fact denied he was the father of our son in which, I was carrying. I was not going to let his denial stop me from having our child. I decided to move back to my home state of KY where I knew I would be welcomed with opened arms and loads of support. Months passed and still no contact from my son’s father and the day of our son’s arrival, still no word. I accepted the fact that I would be raising our son all on my own. Yes I prayed for a child to offer my unconditional love to but didn’t realize I would be single while doing so.
A year passed and my son’s father finally accepted responsibility and the fact that he indeed was the father of our son. On and off again relationship with my son’s father over the years was becoming unhealthy for both my son and I. But would I deny my son the right to know who his father was or have contact with him, NO. I found out though that you cannot make a man be a father to his child.
A few years passed and I began to slip back into depression. My son was my world and he came first and foremost in my life. But I felt like there was something missing in my life. I thought that being single was for those that could not find someone to love them. I began to think that there was something wrong with me because I was single. I started looking for love in all the wrong places and hooked up with men for all the wrong reasons. It was in 2011, that God woke me up and made me realize that I prayed for a child more deeply than a man to love. I realized at that point in my life that I had focused more on someone to love me that the one person that loved me more than any could was right here with me, my son.
Now that my child is close to his pre-teen years, he noticed that his mommy and daddy are not speaking and that his mommy is raising him all on her own. My son often says he wishes his dad and I were together so we could be a family. It is times like that that break my heart. I started looking for love again only because my son said he would like to have a father figure around. Mistake…never go looking for love especially when it is for all the wrong reasons. Why, you may ask. Let me just say, don’t get in a relationship with someone just because your child wants it; that is when you get hurt the most especially when it does not work out and your son really likes the guy. You now have to deal with the hurt your child feels because it did not work out with the man or woman.
The moral to this story is when you pray to God for something make sure you are ready for those prayers to be answered. You may think that what you want and what you need are similar at that time, when in fact they are not. From someone that has been down many walks of life, being a single parent is not easy but all worth it when it comes from the unconditional love you receive from your child, something you will not get from a man or a woman. A child’s love is pure and more meaningful than any relationship we can ever experience. So be grateful for the child you have and most of all enjoy your time you have with them. When God feels that you and your child are ready for a relationship He will send in the right person for you and your child and when you least expect it. For now be thankful for the answered prayers from God, He knows best!