I’ve been meaning to post for the longest time, so now here I am. I am always trying to be witty and write about things that are interesting. Well, that strategy bombed. I guess my kind of blogging needs to be inspired and will aspire to be informative; and most important of all, be positive, though that doesn’t always prevail… hee hee. SO.
Recent events have me overwhelmed, confused and muddled. So I return to my keyboard in an effort to try to sort through it all. I am inspired, but really need to get disciplined if I want to get to my goals… the goals that are starting to take shape in my mind. So many things have been going on, but right now, for this post, I will blot all of them out except one.
On December 20, 2010, my son, Gabriel, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. That’s quite a mouthful for my mouth and my brain. So much has changed from one moment to another. I am suddenly confronted with life changing news (for a lack of a better word). Now, I feel, I must truly live up to my moniker, “the DragonMommie”… mother bear, demon advocate. I think that the most scariest thing is that now I need to be a proactive, very assertive, if not pushy advocate for my son who has special needs.
My whole life has been spent in the background, going along with others’ decisions. Now, I need to step to the forefront and be the one making those decisions. I’m seriously not sure I can do this. BIG sigh. I. am. so. scared….. for now. When I read that over, I realize that I’ve always been right there to look out for Gabe and make sure that he’s cared for and safe, so where is the big difference between then and now? The difference is that now I need to get an education and get it quick. I need to become an expert in a whole new area with its own language, rules and laws. I need to become an expert in researching all this new material and organize it in my head and on my laptop (no small task). I need to learn the unspoken cues. I need to learn the right words to use to be politically correct. I want to be active, informed and I want to use my talents to benefit these kids.
What do I know right now? I know that my son is not any different today than he was a month ago, two weeks ago, two days ago… yesterday. He is still the same amazing, loving, affectionate, smart, funny little boy. What we have now is additional information. We can now give a name to the reason why he acts a little quirky sometimes. He is growing and my husband and I are growing also. We are growing as people and as parents every single day. This was true before, but we are now getting a higher education in love and understanding. We’re far from perfect parents, but I feel that with this added understanding will come not just tolerance, but acceptance for what we cannot change. A determination to provide the highest quality of life that we can for our son. I can say already that miraculously I have a lot more patience with undesirable behavior I previously perceived as being defiance. As a mother, I am determined to learn as much as I can about what is really behind this behavior and how I can teach my son what is appropriate behavior and what is not.
What I know right now is that this condition, disorder, disease… whatever you want to call it, I realize can be such a blessing. First and foremost, our son is a miraculous gift from God and there is meaning in everything He does. We are now officially out of the realm of being a “typical” family. So much can be missed when living a life, day after day, in the mainstream. We are now blessed with a life where we are forced by these circumstances to a heightened sensitivity to what is going on with our child. We are looking at every aspect of his life, with new eyes, eyes with a purpose. We are enjoying the little things. In an effort to gain understanding, we talk to him trying to see what makes for good social conversation. We make sure we include him, age appropriately, in some decisions. We give him choices. Well, I know that a lot of parents out there are doing the same thing and I am not trying to be critical, but it’s so easy to just take over completely and dictate every single aspect of a child’s life. My parents definitely did that and it was no fun and I came out of it with little to no self esteem or confidence. It’s so important for a child to feel at least some control over his life, his body, etc. and it’s up to us, the parents, to allow that to happen… even if it’s just a choice between broccoli and string beans… an age appropriate choice.
I feel good. I think I’ve been somewhat successful with this post. I did not want to make it fancy with links and pictures. I wanted to focus solely on my thoughts. I’m sure future posts will have pictures and links because, well, that is my thing. Next post will include some links and info.