Yesterday my daughter shared something. She shared that she feels like she and her sister lived through two moms in life. The mother before autism and the one that is raising them all now.
I won’t lie, it caused me to pause. Was this bad? Did it mean I wasn’t doing enough? I feel as a mom, its important to listen because when we listen, we learn. In the quiet moments, we can learn from our children. Sometimes I learn more from children about what matters in life.
My daughter talked about before autism. She talked about how I had everything planned. She talked about the summers. The summer of ice cream where we drove around and sampled ice cream. We rated the shops and blogged about it. The following summer it was supposed to be Pizza and then Fries. It never happened.
Instead, autism happened.
She talked about how our home was and is a revolving door how therapists and support persons walk in and out and how her room was once turned into a room for therapy.
As she talked, I listened and I expected to feel sad.
I didn’t. Instead I realized yes, I have changed. Yes, we have changed and yes, priorities have changed. That being said, if I look at what has changed, perhaps its for the better.
Autism has taught me so much.
First, its taught me tolerance and acceptance.
It has taught me to look for the good in each day, and yes, I’ve had to do a few resets, especially on those really hard days but still, I reset and see the beauty in so many more moments than I did before, autism.
Autism has taught me to say “no”. Or at least try to. One mom told me once to always say no. She said people like it better when you come back and say yes, rather than saying yes, and flaking.
Its taught me its okay to set boundaries, to reassess those boundaries and to let people know what they are.
Its taught me to be transparent. For so many years we faked perfection. The perfect family and honestly I thought I had it all together. Truth be told, none of us do.
Autism has taught me to accept help. THIS IS A BIG ONE. I am stubborn and I don’t let anyone in. I have had to because, well, I can’t do this alone. Five kids is hard, adding in autism is harder. We’ve allowed others to step in when I have to step out and while I worry people will think I can’t do it or shouldn’t have had so many kids, it allows others to serve and for me, I like to serve others so why not allow others to also support me?
Its taught me (and my children) that life isn’t fair. Simone eluded to that in our chat. Life isn’t fair but life is good. It has good moments. Always.
So yes, autism has changed me. I may not be the mom that packs up the kids and heads to the shore spur of the moment but I am the mom that they need. I am the mom that was intended for them and while it may not be perfect, its enough.
So parents, parents of any type, I want you to read this and realize, that we will change. Change is okay and as we change we will become who we were intended to be, the best parents for the children we are given.