Yesterday, I read a blog piece that really made me sad. Not sad for myself...I don't wallow in the self-pity of having children with Autism. Sad for the child about who the piece was written for. A child who's mother views as "dead"..because, for goodness sakes, she has Autism. The child she used to have (before the autism) is dead...
Confusing...I know !!!!
As you read on in the piece, you see this child seems to have come a very long way. She is now considered "recovered" by the mother. But, I guess that is just not good enough either. This beautiful little girl happens to have been born 7 days after my youngest son. I am amazed how 2 women..mother's of children who are the same age...can feel so differently about their children.
In our home, we live with 2 severely disabled autistic individuals. The bookends of our children...the youngest and the oldest.. Kiernan 8 is non-verbal and a ball of energy. He is what keeps us on our toes. He is beauty and grace. He is our last child, but he has always fit into our very unique family. He receives therapies and has attendant care, because he requires a lot of energy to take care of...but, he is worth every minute. Caitlin, 18, is verbal by choice. She will answer your questions, but they better be worth her time to answer. She also requires attendant care, because mentally, she is like an 8 year old. She attends regular high school with a 3.7 grade point average. She is complex and unique. Erin and Patrick both have PDD-NOS. Although you cannot tell them apart from their peers, they have sensory issues. She wears her Ipod and headphones when she needs to shut people and noises out. We approach their issues individually. Erin needs a drawing pad and something soft to rub on where ever we go. Patrick needs a video game or a ball to squeeze. These items keep them focused and able to stay on task. Deirdre has Asperger's. She is inquisitive and wants to learn new things. She reads all the time. Deirdre also listens to her headphones when she is annoyed or irritated. Deirdre loves older kids, she can keep up with adult conversations and is up on current events. She is as close to brilliant as their is. In fact...She is the smartest person I know, and I am the dumbest person she knows ( in her mind, anyway). Meaghan, our NT child is just that NT...and with that comes all of the angst and heart-break that a normal 6th grade girl should know. The right hair, clothes, Ipod, boyfriends, swimsuit, bra, etc.....whew !!!!
I know that God put me on this Earth to be these children's mother. He knew that they would be loved and cared for. He knew that I would never judge them or their behaviors. He knew that I would accept them and with this, their Autism.
My children have come such a long way. They have surpassed what others told us they could never do. They have continued to amaze their instructors and their therapists. They will continue to do so as they get older and mature. We have seen this in our older children and will see it in our younger children also.
Autism did not ruin our family. Autism did not take my children from us. They are right here in front of me. They are beautiful and funny. When they enter a room, I feel my face light up and my heart fill with so much love. They are meant to be here and they are meant to be mine. These children will NEVER feel that they are not meant to be. We will continue to raise them and adore them. We will continue to enjoy this roller coaster of a ride that was chosen for our family...and I will continue to thank God every day for letting me be these children's mother.
BTW..today is my husband's 44th birthday. Me and the kids...yes, all 6 of them, will be heading out to get the cake and ice cream for tonight's festivities. We will prepare his favorite dinner and enjoy being around this amazing man...a man who has never questioned why he is the father of these children, but a man who works 2 jobs to make sure they are taken care of. A man, who at this very minute, is at the ball field running a clinic for kids who need a bit of help with baseball, so they can catch up with their peers (free of charge, of course)....selfless, loving and strong...Happy Birthday Patrick !!!!