Seismic Shift

I can not tell you when it happened. Not a specific date, or time. I can only tell you that something has happened. Part of me is scared to death to even say it out loud. For YEARS… and I mean YEARS I have been working, intervening, helping, pushing, guiding, loving my son who was diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum, and who also has ADHD. 

Sometimes, believe it or not, it is very hard to tell the two things apart. I feel the two within my son work hand in hand (or in some cases, in polar opposition to one another). Some days have been tougher than others. However, most days have been tough. 

They say he is “high functioning.” I hate that term. I find that some people just need more support than others for different reasons and different things. This is no different than in the neurotypical world. Some of us need alone time than others. Some of us need cuddle time more than others. Some of us need to be touching our significant other when in their presence, and some of us don’t have to touch at all. Does that make any of US “less” functioning than the others. We are just all very neurodiverse. 

So, I don’t know when this shift happened. I am not sure I even know WHY this shift happened. All I know is, it seems as though a shift has happened (can you tell I’m still processing that this shift has happened). 

My son has decided on his own, to take control of his body, mind, spirit, learning and needs. Yes. I said that. He has articulated his needs in ways I didn’t know he was able to (especially since the beginning he couldn’t speak). He has decided that it is time to step up and “Do this thing!”. 

Here is just ONE example of what I mean by this shift:

In the past, in order to get ANY homework done, he needed someone to be sitting next to him, constantly redirecting him to sit down and do his work. Steve, sit down. Steve, do your work. Steve, read this question. Steve, common you need to read this question, then answer this question. Steve no, you can not bring your toys to the table, Steve…. and so it went. This happened all the way up until the the teachers gave up giving homework out for the last couple weeks of school last year, Third grade. 

After declaring his preparedness to learn this year, Steve was handed his first homework assignment of the year. Without the help of an aide, Steve went straight to daycare and when told it was homework time, sat right down and did his work. He didn’t complete it but made a solid effort and articulated to the daycare person, he was going to complete the rest at home. 

We got home, he sat down at the table while I was preparing dinner, he started to finish his assignment. We then ate dinner and left for his sister’s gymnastics lessons. Knowing he still had to do 20 minutes of grade level reading, pulled out his book and asked, “How long does it take to get to gymnastics?” I replied, “about 10 minutes.” He responded, “Ok, I’ll start reading now then can we sit in the car until my reading time is up? Then my homework will be done and I can start my screen time I earned.” My response…… was a wide opened mouth with no words. 

When we got home from the gymnastics lesson, after the reading was complete and the earned screen time had been used, I asked a question that I thought for SURE was going to push Steve over the edge……… but I asked it anyway. 

“Hey Steve, how about we start filling in those dates on the timeline project due Thursday now, so you have left to do tomorrow since you have soccer practice?” – I held my breath…. expecting the meltdown ANY second. 

Instead, I got a resounding, “Sure Mom, that sounds good.” We did half of the project. Now he only has to write a paragraph about what he wants to be when he grows up. Secretly, I’m thinking he’s gonna be one hell of a lawyer, but I’m sure he’s going to say video game designer or something. 

Again, I don’t know how it happened, I don’t know WHY it happened, and I am sure never going to ask how long its going to last. “Carpe Diem” to quote one of my favorite movies of all time. I am just going to seize the day with a giant smile on my face. 

#SoFreakenProudOfSteve

~me

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No Words Needed

Sitting at soccer practice tonight watching my lil man interacting, playing, learning the game from his peers, his father, the coach and his sister who is helping out I can’t help but to be amazed at how far he has come. 

Then, I look over. One of the parents on our team has that look. I know that look. She doesn’t even have to tell me, I know, her child is having a meltdown. 

I look, I tell her I understand. Words are not necessary. When I can, I give her a hug. 

I am lucky that again, God has placed me in a position to possibly help yet one more family. If anyone can understand the challenges she is facing, it is us. Me, my ex-husband who is the coach, our daughter and even my son. 

May I keep being given this strength to help those on this path that we have traveled. Please let me be of service. 

~me

Frozen in Fear

As I lie here, I think about tomorrow. The first day of school. This is not our usual first day of school. Tomorrow is Brooklyn’s first day of Middle School. Middle school. Even the name breaths pain and misfortune. I pray that my darling girl’s time spent in that place will be much less torturous than mine was. I keep trying to tell myself… She is not you. Brooklyn has her own story to tell. Brooklyn is on the verge of finding out just. who. Brooklyn. is. SHE will determine her destiny. Your past does not have to be her future. 

I think it is best that we don’t know all the pressures of this period of time we are about to enter into. I think if we really knew just how important that time during Middle School is in shaping the person you are about to become we just wouldn’t have the strength to carry on. I think fear would stop us dead in our tracks. 

I try not to instill fear into Brooklyn. Sometimes, it is there anyway. She is much more capable than she gives herself credit for. She is a smart girl that can sometimes be a bit too easily persuaded. She more than anything else, wants to be liked. She needs the approval of her peers to breathe. 

My job now is to help her realize, you don’t need their approval, you need your own. You need to push yourself harder and further than you ever have before. That if you set your mind to it, you can accomplish great things. Your fear is the only limit upon you now. It sounds like an easy enough task but I now find myself standing in fear. Wondering if I can succeed. Wondering can I instill enough self-confidence in her to see her take her first steps of independence. True independence. 

That is my job now. To sit back, ask HER time and time again, “Well, baby girl, what do YOU think you should do?” It is time for me to stop solving the problems but to give her a gift. The gift of self-reliance and perseverance.

However, for tonight, the night before school starts, when I am going KNOW I should tell her, “I know you are afraid, but you NEED to know you can sleep in your own room and be okay,” I am going to say instead, “Come here my love. Will you sleep with me tonight.”

Because honestly, I know what’s about to come…. and I do not want to let her go! I’m frozen in fear. 

~me

Letting Go

Interesting

I am so bewildered why society this day and age are so judgmental of one another. In my autism community I hear a lot of, “My kid is worse than your kid, so you don’t know.” “My kid did this but yours doesn’t so you can’t help me.” “I read one article that said XYZ so clearly, YOUR article is wrong.”

Statements like these are just so not helpful.

If I see something and I post it with a comment that says it is an interesting read, doesn’t it mean JUST THAT. This is interesting. Hmmm, maybe I need to look into that one particular place or topic a bit more to see if it works or does not for my child and/or situation. Doesn’t it simply say, I need to think about this to decide if I agree with it or not. Doesn’t it say, maybe you too will be interested in a piece of this and see if any of it helps develop your thoughts on the subject.

We do not have the time to ponder any more. This makes me sad.

Not everything has to be a declarative statement of right and wrong. Besides, have you never been wrong in  your life? Made a mistake? Trusted the wrong person, like… EVER? Of course we make mistakes, we are human. The great thing about being human is that we DO make mistakes. We learn from mistakes. We can gather more information and even change our minds about a specific topic. One can never stop learning, yearning, reaching for more information. No one knows everything. Shoot… even Stephen Hawking is still searching for answers for crying out loud.

Let us all just take a breath, ponder some of the words in front of us instead of rushing though skimming everything to come to a judgment immediately and let us see if we can all learn a little something about each other in the process that may help us ALL.

I’m JUST sayin!

~me