Once upon a time, a girl named Trish married her best friend Jake. It was a beautiful affair; nothing fancy, just right. I’d had dreams of that day as a little girl marrying the man of my dreams, and being carried over the threshold of our pretty little home (don’t forget the white picket fence)……..we would have two children, a boy and a girl….that’s where it gets interesting, cause my life went nothing as I planned it to…not even close.
Yes I got married but forgot to mention that two little girls of ours were in the wedding party. Here they are pleased as punch to get all dolled up for the day…….
Gasp……I haven’t even got to the most sordid part of all, don’t stop reading yet. Two years later after a very healthy pregnancy, our third child, Timothy was born. Husband check; girl(s) check;boy; check….not the family of four I had imagined but meh I can improvise, I thought. But fate was fickle and that was not to be. Baby Timothy was acting “strangely”, not neuro-typically.
The cards had been dealt, the dealer(everyone else) had a royal flush….and I? Skunked. Shit cards, ripped off, or so I thought. Self pity was my best friend for a while, I denied the truth for months, years even…I thought if I cried enough tears to fill an ocean, ignored the diagnosis, and tried real hard, I could fix him. I thought if I dress him really cute, people may not notice his differences and give him a chance…wryly I look back with humor cause of course they noticed.. Timothy has non verbal autism and is low functioning. Duh!
In those early days I tried to be SuperMom. I watched youtube vids on Martha Stewart Living (before she went to jail). I cooked everything from scratch~ if there was a recipe to cure autism, I cooked it. I cleaned. I did laundry and I went to work on weekends. I missed so many opportunities to have fun with my children and live life because I lived with fog over my eyes for too long trying to be the perfect Mom and wife. One day not long ago, I had an epiphany. Screw it.
I’m no superwoman and I won’t pretend to be anymore. I’m not a perfect or even really good Mom. I yell when I’m frustrated and cuss when I’m annoyed. I like a cold beer on a really hot day. I burp and fart when I’m alone (and sometimes when I’m not!) Hey, everybody poops-you know how it goes...
Bottom line is this: My kids feel loved. They know they matter.
Screw the rest.
Its humble pie I eat now. When your kid eats nothing-not a little-literally nothing whatsoever; you will buy him McDonalds fries every day if that’s what it takes to get him to eat. So that’s what we do. Yes, I’ve heard the “they won’t starve, will eat when they are hungry bit” and I”m here to tell you NO HE WON’T. That rule doesn’t apply to my son, or those with extreme sensory aversions. He was mere days from being hospitalized back then. I can’t say what he feels or what he knows, but back then, in those scary first months, he didn’t know hunger. We lived in fear. If Timothy had a cracker or a donut to eat that day (that was it) that was a success and I could let myself sleep that night. I couldn’t say the words I can freely say now.
Timothy has autism.
We eat processed foods sometimes. Frozen food. I do the laundry whenever I have time. Same with cleaning. I rarely apologize anymore for my often messy abode and don’t really care.
Those things don’t matter, really, in the scheme of things.
Its taken me a long freaking time to realize what does matter. Family. Love. Accepting myself and others for how imperfectly perfect they are. Living for the moment.
I’m not special. Kids like him aren’t born to special people. They are born to teach us. They make us better just to know them. They make better parents, better brothers and better sisters. We are the lucky ones and I truly mean that.
Timothy is teaching me how to live in his world, he was all along. I just missed the clues.
To the newly “ausome” parents, stick with it. Don’t get lost in the diagnosis and waste precious opportunities to learn about your child like I did. If I had to look back, its my biggest regret.
Love and things,