Wednesday, June 3, 2015

What It's Like... For Us

A lot of posts that have helped me have been about how people have answered when asked "what is it like to raise a kid with autism?"  No one has ever asked me.

For the most part it seems like it would be hard to answer,  He was our first kid, and so all we have ever known is life with autism.  We had our ideas of how raising a little boy would go.  Dreams of him growing up to play sports and excelling academically.  Being a popular kid in school because of his dashing good looks.  We have had to give up some dreams and ideas we had.  We have found new ones.  At first it is a mourning process.  "Why me? Why him?" gets asked a lot.  And then when you come around the corner to acceptance, you bury your head in the "what can I do for my kiddo" sand.

We traded soccer fields for occupational therapy, and little league for speech therapy.  We traded birthday parties and super popularity with his friends for "please oh please acknowledge that that kid is talking to you!"  And through all of the trades we made to go from "normal" to "our normal" we learned.  A lot!

Patience was definitely a big lesson.  Kids with autism can take longer to catch on to some things.  It won't help anyone to get upset and join into their frustrations.  Things we definitely can take for granted from fine motor skills to talking to potty training.  It is so hard to see all of your friends' kids hit milestones and go down the path that we wish our kid would.  But patience to wait for it all and the hard work that gets put into any of it makes the reward huge.

Determination may be something you are born with or something you find, but this is a situation you will figure out if you have it.  I dare anyone to tell us B won't do something.  We will make that our goal.  I expect no less from him than I do from his sisters, or most of his peers.  He is capable.  Maybe not at every waking moment.  If he is having a hard day at the park or store he is allowed some slack, but we won't give up on going to the park or the store.

And while you have probably seen lots of posts about the "blessings" of autism it sucks too.  For every goal reached is one more, or 20 more, we are working towards.  For every success opens a new door to more goals.  Which is great because people should always want to grow themselves, but it is exhausting.  So so so exhausting.  It takes it out of you from all sides and there is definitely shame, mom guilt, from admitting this.  The truth is there is nothing wrong with these feelings.  I still love that kid, and the other two who can be equally exhausting.  I am still so happy to be a mommy and to be able to stay at home with them.  I may not be the most fun person to hang out with now, I only know kids' shows and movies, and my music list is whatever will make my 2 year old "shake her booty", but I wouldn't trade it.

You make sacrifices.  The whole family.  The girls may not get to do all of the classes and things they want because we are spending money on all of the therapies for him.  Not to mention the time to drive to the therapies and the appointments themselves.  Mom and dad make sacrifices to make sure the schools are doing everything they can and should to help him succeed.  The dog makes a sacrifice to become a wrestling partner, and who are we kidding that dog is the happiest dog on earth for it.  And he definitely makes sacrifices too.

This is who he is.  We don't want to turn him into "normal".  He will definitely make sacrifices so he can be in regular education classes.  He will have to learn how to fit, at least somewhat, into society's idea of how we should be.  He has to keep up in school work while learning to be social.  He will have to learn that some people aren't there to help you, hopefully not the hard way.  He will make so many sacrifices.  I just hope not too many.  And I pray he is always happy about the things he gives up.

I am wholly exhausted at the end of the day, and when I wake up tomorrow I will do it all again. What little sacrifices I have to make to make sure he has everything he needs to be successful in life I will always make.

1 comment:

  1. This was beautifully written! So glad you decided to blog!