Parenting any child can be a maze of interesting (and sometimes painful) trials and experiences. Having more than 1 kid means you travel more than 1 parenting maze.. at the same time..
My two kids have carefully molded me into a strong, resourceful, patient adult..
Ha!! By testing every boundaries, terrible reactions to getting their blood taken, sleep walking, night terrors, wondering off in stores, tantrums, illnesses, sassy natures, emergency hip surgeries.. and medical conditions.
By some miracle? My kids and I have survived this thing called childhood and we are ALL doing great..
It’s funny to me that people automatically assume that I had more trials with my Son with special needs then my “typically developing” daughter… Ha.. I have so many funny stories of my daughter testing every rule.. creating and recreating parenting techniques to guide her independent and …spirited .. personality into being successful.. and the awful (often hilarious) situations she got herself into..
In fact.. I often tell people that both my kids (and all kids .. in their way) .. have special needs.. Each child with their own super power.. and each child with their weaknesses.. some “special” Need that we have to pay special attention to..
The “great” thing about my daughter is that she showed off her super powers to the community.. and saved her weaknesses for home.. Ha.. How many times I heard a teacher say, “Your daughter is so responsible and organized.. and so polite all the time..”? Too many to count.. Then she saved her stubborn pride, her unbending determination for us at home. (Sigh)
Years later? We look back and laugh.. Man do I love that girl.. and what a successful adult she is turning out to be..
But with Autism? You can’t hide those “Special needs” ..and you can’t save them for home..
Traditionally the symbol for Autism is a puzzle piece.. because it is a puzzle trying to figure out what causes the symptoms.. a puzzle on how to get through the walls.. how to help them.. how to push them to be a success..
I agree with the puzzle symbol because I have done 16 years of research to figure out how to help my boy with his roadblocks.
But now that we have overcame the most difficult of these roadblocks..? Now that we have solved the mysteries of vitamin deficiencies and self stimulating behaviors..? Now that we have come back from the abyss of aggression and irritability??
Now that I just have my son back?
I realize that my symbol for Autism is a little different than just a “puzzle” piece.
When you see a sunrise coming up behind the trees? It can be a little frustrating because the trees are blocking out the light.. blocking out the beauty of the sunrise on the horizon..
But I love to see the sun peaking through the trees..
To me? To me the sun peaking through the darkness gives us the promise of better things… Hope for tomorrow .. a peak at what’s behind the shadows..
This is my symbol for Autism.. the sun peaking through the darkness..
When my son’s Vitamin deficiencies reached their lowest levels? The light in his eyes all but disappeared. He was malnourished (even though he ate enough to keep an army alive), he was unhealthy (despite the best medical attention).. and he was so miserable. He couldn’t focus, he could no longer make eye contact, he was aggressive and you couldn’t have a conversation with him.
But in the midst of a storm of emotions?
The rage would pull back.. the curtains would lift from his eyes.. and all of the sudden? All of the sudden the sun would shine from his eyes.. and I could see my boy again.
I could see that he was still in there.
He was still there.. Shining from behind the shadows of Autism..
and it was THAT sunlight that kept me going.. The hope that kept me pushing on..
Now that we solved so many puzzles, we get to see his sun shining every day.
There are days like yesterday, where his sun disappeared behind a clump of trees.. a little grumpy.. a little stubborn.. and a lot frustrated..
.. and I found myself annoyed.. annoyed because it was bad timing.. Bad timing for me..
But when I took a step back.. and took a few deep breaths.. (..ok.. ok.. a LOT of deep breaths)… ? I could still see his light begging to get out from behind that frustration..
So to me? Autism is so much more than a puzzle..
.. it’s a light.. that insists on shining through the darkness..