The amount of time I live autism is not very well reflected in my blog postings. Probably because when I sit down to write, I want to not think about autism.
But if my thoughts were recorded on a
And I tend to have one of three days related to Noe's autism.
average autism day. This is most days. My life feels normal, blessed in fact. Noe is Noe. He has his struggles and issues, but so does every other kid. While some kids take tennis lessons and go to chess club, Noe has speech therapy and ABA-VB. It is not torture for him. In fact, he looks forward to seeing his therapists and working on the activities and lessons they have prepared. He makes progress, but it is often hard to see day to day.
It is always interesting to run into a parent at Noe's school that I know from somewhere else, such as from Asher's preschool, or my job, where I tend to meet lots of hyper-academic parents. They are excited to find out I have a child at the highly-regarded school. Immediately, they want to know his teacher, whether or not he is in the GT (Gifted & Talented) program, etc. I tell them, without any self-consciousness (I am SO over that) that Noe is in the autism program. And then I get the look. Often enough, I have to remind myself with a bit of amusement that the look I am seeing is.... PITY. Why do you pity me? I want to say. I have the best kid ever. Not that he doesn't cause me a lot of worries, but he really is great.
super autism day. These are also pretty rare, but special. These are days, actually moments, when I get a glimpse into Noe's soul and see unlimited potential and his true autism-free self. Sometimes it is a knowing smile he gives me. Often, he is riding his bike and his autism just slips away completely for a few precious moments. These are also the days when I can step outside of my every-day life for a moment and see the ways I have experienced true personal growth as a result of dealing with Noe's autism over the past five years.
Would I trade the past few years of "personal growth" for a more average parenthood experience? In half a New York minute. For my sanity as well as Noe's well being. Accompanying my exponential personal growth curve, I've also experienced some nasty side effects, namely a rather jarring crisis of faith and enough anxiety to keep an entire Paxil factory running overtime through the recession (full disclosure: I am actually not on any anti-anxiety medication but probably should have been at various points over the past five years).
Once in awhile, I will be in the bathroom and suddenly I will pull my hair back tight and examine my face in the mirror. The permanent dark circles under my eyes. The strands of gray hair making an early appearance. The worry lines. I swear I can almost make out the word autism written on my worry lines.
These are my days, a new path, our new journey. And I have to say, the view along the way is pretty damn amazing.