Something dawned on me today in terms of writing this blog. That I should focus in on a point. Now I know that people apparently “like my blog” and have found our book and the blog “to be very helpful” or “inspiring” or “educational”. Be that as it may when I started the blog I had a list of topics that I had wanted to cover. And that list has been covered a long time ago. Since then I have written about topics that relate to our autism life that have spoken to me as they have come up. So kind of sporadically. Seeing this is the weekend of Mother’s day what better topic to talk about. But I struggle this year … what’s my focus? Who am I in this journey?
My mind continually goes to young moms of special needs kids. I remember 28 year old me. Young, autism virgin, afraid, lonely, and without a mentor to guide our special needs path. My heart continually goes out to younger moms and what are their needs? How are they hurting? How are they rejoicing? How are they advocating? What are things like for them as woman and mothers?
I wish 48 year old me could have been a mentor to 28 year old me. What would I tell myself?
I would tell you that it’s going to be hard. There are going to be days that it will feel like hell. There will be days that you will feel you cannot get through one. more. second. That you will feel angry and bitter. That you will lose people and not gain others because not everyone will be able to be your village. That yes you will be doing a lot of advocating and that will not always make you popular.
I would tell you that you will be sad. That you will look outside and see children playing and then look at your daughter – who you love as anyone loves their child – and see her piling duplo alone. Even thought the duplo box says age 1.5 – 5 years …. you will want to tell the duplo box to kiss off You will want to tell a lot of people to kiss off. Click, click, click, click goes the duplo. Click, click, click. Day after day, week after week, month after month year after year and now decade after decade. Click, click, click, click. You will be sad that your child has missed milestones and not even aware that they are missed. You will cry for her loneliness. You will cry many tears.
You will be afraid. You will wonder and worry about her future. You will wonder and worry if she is well as she cannot tell you. You will wonder and worry if the funding that has given your child a life will continue or rather how we will survive when it has been cut.
But then you may be surprised. You will be surprised at the wonderful people that you will meet in among everything. You will be surprised at the people that will step up and show caring for you. You will be surprised at the people that will show love and caring for her. Workers and loved ones. You will be amazed at the strength you will feel when you feel supported. And don’t worry 28 year old me – they will come.
You will amazed at your strength. Even though confrontation is your least favourite thing – you will do it. Why? Because you know she’s in there and you know how to get her. You know it. You are her mother and you will find this God given strength to fight to the ends of the earth for her. You may hate every minute of it but you do it anyway.
You will experience joy that you never knew existed. You will work hard for her and it will pay off. You will rejoice because she will achieve things that are seemingly small but it will take a team of people to teach her and coach her along the way. There will be many ‘small things’ but you will know how much work it took and you will be grateful. You will know gratitude like you never could have imagined.
You will find love. You will find the comradarie of other autism moms. Woman that will be a lifeline. Do not worry – they’ll be there. Just breathe and give it a moment. This thing called the internet is around the corner. These woman will kick life in the ass along side you. For forever.
So where am I in this special needs journey? I’ve done the anger, bitterness, sadness and fear and while those emotions are still prevalent at times it’s not what’s driving me. I’d like to say contentment but more likely it is surrendering to the exhaustion. In that surrender I also realize that Hannah is happy. Maybe a little surrender-age is okay.
To all mothers of atypical kids – just know you are not alone. Know that whatever fight you have for your child is the best you can do and do not doubt yourself. Know that God’s grace and provisions are there for you no matter what the situation is. Know that it is okay to not understand.
I wonder message 68 year old me has in store?
Happy mother’s day my special needs sisters. Much love to you all.