Monday, April 30, 2012

Truly Blessed

There are some times when I see a "typical" family doing something, and I wish for a minute that my life was different.

I wish I could
  • take my kids to Dairy Queen, and sit outside on one of their picnic tables, and eat ice cream. [I can't because my kids can't eat ice cream.]
  • go through the McDonald's drive-thru when I'm tired and don't want to go home and cook. Instead I have to go home and cook three different meals, every night, because there's nothing at McDonald's that my kids could eat.
  • not have to decide between buying vitamins for my child and paying my bills.
  • wake up on a Saturday morning and play with the kids, or have coffee, or just ease into my day. Instead, as soon as I wake up, I brace myself to change 2 poopy diapers, and often a poopy chair, or floor, or bed, or...  I make my way to Hayden to see what kind of poopy mess awaits me.
  • see a recipe on Pinterest and just make it for my kids, and not think, "Nope, that has wheat/milk/oats/almond/sesame so someone can't eat it, I'll need to substitute x for this and y for that and... aw, forget it."
  • be able to go to a birthday party and not have to pack my own cupcakes.
  • be able to let my son eat the free hotdogs they're giving out at his baseball game.
  • not have to worry about IEPs, supplements, behaviors...
  • be able to relax on the couch after work and not have to be on guard for someone to jump on me from behind.
  • not have to listen to screaming for two hours because of a small change in routine.
  • not live at the doctor's office:  neurologist, ENT, dietitian, pediatrician, developmental pediatrician, DAN doctor, allergist, speech therapist and feeding specialist, OT...
  • not have to look at my son's easily-bruised arms, or see him having a random Autism meltdown, or hear him tell me his stomach often hurts all day, and feel guilty.  Why was I too lazy to skip his vitamins last night?  Why haven't I done more?  I need to work harder!

But Autism has changed my life for the better in many ways, and I'm grateful for these things:

  • As Rylie learns language early, it's twice as wonderful and amazing to me, because I never experienced the typical progression of language with Hayden, and because it's a sign that she is going to be typical.
  • I know more about diet and nutrition and toxins than I ever would have taken the time to learn, because I had to learn it to help my children. 
  • Cleaning up my children's diets actually led me to clean up my own diet. I'm now healthier and feel better than I ever have.
  • I have been able to pass on resources to so many parents and teachers, hopefully having an impact on many kids.
  • As a teacher I understand kids better, and know what to say and what to do when they feel frustrated.
  • Going to a special needs events like his first baseball game makes you appreciate the little moments. He got right in there and played, hit the ball, ran the bases, and had a great time.  I was so proud of him. Seeing what he can accomplish, with a smile on his face, is so rewarding.
  • Being a part of parent groups and online communities in Autism has allowed me to feel comfort that others are fighting the same struggles, and many children are recovered from Autism. 
  • Autism gave me a reason to blog, which means write, which I may not have done otherwise and thoroughly enjoy. 
  • Seeing the change in my son over the last two years has been unbelievable.  He is a different child.
  • Going through the process of biomedical treatment with Hayden allowed me to recognize symptoms in Rylie and get her help sooner, conceivably preventing Autism in her and allowing me to treat her gut issues sooner than I would have otherwise.
  • Every phrase my son utters to me is a miracle.  Every smile, every hug, every laugh is a treasure. 
  • My children are the best gift that God could ever give. Except that, He also gave me a child with special needs, but not without giving me the means to help him. To fix him. Is that not the most precious gift, to be able to heal your children? To give them a better life? 

Living with a son with Autism has made me a better parent, and a better person. I thank God for my children and this opportunity to help them, and others, have a better life.  I am truly blessed.


Hope is the thing with feathers 
That perches in the soul, 
And sings the tune--without the words, 
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard; 
And sore must be the storm 
That could abash the little bird 
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land, 
And on the strangest sea; 
Yet, never, in extremity, 
It asked a crumb of me.

~Emily Dickinson

Follow #AutismPositivity2012 and #youmightbeanautismparentif on Twitter for more positives about Autism.


Karen said...

That's one of my all-time favorite poems! Thanks for a terrific blog!

Sheila Damron said...

Thanks Karen!

Sheila Damron said...

Also, a side note that my wonderful mother helped me brainstorm that there are 2 local restaurants that have GF menus, so I could treat myself and the kids once in a while to an evening without having to cook. Thanks Mom!