Someone once asked me what it was like to live with special needs.. Not just special needs really.. But with Autism (and a side of bipolar).. At the time I couldn’t really answer..
I mean.. With autism you know what you get.. Overload.. Anxiety.. Obsession.. meltdowns..
But add Bipolar? Then you add unpredictability.. When you get home? You don’t know if you have a child with a good mood or anger.. Or tears. When your son comes out of his room? You don’t know if you will have cooperation or frustration..
Honestly I can’t tell you if I will see my Son.. his autism.. OR his bipolar… from one minute to the next .. Especially in the spring months..
So to the question? I simply said, “It’s a roller coaster ride.. But it’s worth it.”
And that IS the truth ..
Tonight I watched a movie with my girls called “50 first dates”.. It was really cute .. a little crude in places (yes I am very old-fashioned.. I don’t like crude jokes).. But still cute.. And worth the watch..
For anyone not familiar.. 50 first dates is about a young lady who is in an accident that results in a brain injury. Because of the injury, she cannot create new memories .. So everyday her dad and brother recreate the last day she remembers. Over and over and over again.. When she meets a new guy, he has to help her fall in love with him over and over again.. every day.. Like EVERY day.. Eventually they develop a system.. They create a video of flashbacks since the accident.. Events.. Dates.. And eventually their wedding… And the young lady writes her thoughts in a journal.. A list of things she doesn’t want to forget.. Important things ..
Then she goes to sleep and wakes up refreshed.. And starts each day over again.. Remembering nothing .. Then she watches the video and reads her notes .. EVERY day ..
At the end of the movie? When we saw that she had to be reminded of her child that she couldn’t remember. As the credits began to roll, my daughter said.. “What a terrible way to live”..
But what if she never progressed beyond that accident.. What if she never stopped living that day over and over? What if she never lived ANYTHING NEW beyond that day?
That would be terrible indeed..
But to have flashback videos and hand written notes every morning.. To catch her up to ? To remind her she is married? To remind her she has a baby?
To be living that married life?
To be a mom?
That is being Blessed!
Being a mom to a young man with autism? Living with a loved one with Bipolar? It is very similar to “50 firsts”..
Every morning I wake up.. And I watch a flash back of important moments in our lives.. Important break throughs.. Flash through my mind.. Every day while I drink my chai? I read through the notes I have made through the years.. Only the important ones..
And then I set forth!
I set forth to make new Memories.. New important events.. I deal with each event as they occur.. Living in the moment! Never bringing the past into play.. Not remembering the mistakes from the day before. Unlike the movie? These choices are voluntary.. To choose to forget the bad.. to forget the mistakes..
THEN? Then I record those moments in my mind.. Sometimes I even write important information down..
Some days are good.. And just like movie? Yup.. Some days are a disaster.
And just like the movie? Sometimes the days are so bad that I cry myself to sleep at night ..
Then every night ? I sleep and the stress washes away. I wake up each new day ready to conquer some new activities.. With my flash backs and handwritten notes.
And we celebrate every “first” that comes along.. His first 2 word sentence at 5, his first full night sleep at 6.. His first solo cooked meal.. His first time walking to class on his own.. The first test taken by himself.. The first time he stayed home alone..
Ok.. You are right! There are WAY more than 50 “firsts” in our life. But we celebrate each one…
I know that some people look at my son’s life .. At MY life.. and they think, “What a terrible way to live”..
But to me?
To me a world without my son in it? A world without 50 OR 100 “firsts” being celebrated?
What a terrible way to live…