Here we are, the parent (lighthouse) standing alone on a rock surrounded by an ocean (our spectrum loves) not understanding the depth of Autism but trying our best way to put on our gear and float every single day. This is how I view my life as a parent with two children on the spectrum.
I remember when my journey began. Faith was about 3 years old, I was a single mom and had no idea what was going on with my first child that has Asperger’s syndrome. Faith was a collector of rocks at the time, and all her teddy bears were lined up in her special order. I thought nothing of it until I started realizing that she wasn’t just collecting a few rocks, their were shoe boxes FULL of nothing but ROCKS. She was verbal (still is, to much some days at now 15 yrs old.) and her IQ is probably higher than mine. I didn’t even realize she was socially different because I accepted her at home just they way she was, perfect in my opinion. Then the day came where she got around a group of girls her age. She was literally holding an adult conversations while the other kids looked confused. I remember the teacher asking me to tell her not to do that. She didn’t say anything inappropriate, she just spoke with some really large words. She was so easy to raise. We had our moments but for the most part she was easy to understand.
Then years later, I got married and gave birth to my son Josiah. This is when I realized that Autism is totally different for each child on the spectrum. There are levels to this stuff! My kids were night and day. It wasn’t long before the stress of the marriage and our son being on the spectrum, didn’t take long for me to become a single mother again. One day when I was at my whits end, I remembered some training that I had on a job I was being trained for as a behavioral specialist for children on the spectrum. We lost funding for that program but I learned enough to apply it to my sons life. At least to get me by.
My patience has run thin on so many occasions that I’ve lost count. I know that I am not alone in this and what each family goes through there is no comparison to the other. Our beautiful children are like the ocean they are full of depth, beautiful and unending. I always think of the ocean when I get stressed out or feel exhausted. I remind myself that above the surface of the ocean it is calm when there isn’t a storm, but beneath it there is so much life happening
Our children on the spectrum are the same way. There is so much we don’t know going on below the surface. So instead of trying to figure them out, learn to float, join them in their world. Learn to channel that impatience into stopping everything in the moment and join your child.
A lot of the time, we are told to walk away, and to stop and breath. Don’t get me wrong those are all good things and if it works I say keep doing it. There are still times that I do walk away, journal, cry it out or pray; but the best experiencing to bring me peace and patience, is where there were times when my son would get inside of a huge box and say Mom get in my boat, in the moment we sailed all over the world. Other times when he was stimming and wouldn’t stop running back and forth and screaming I started doing it with him and he stopped. I’m sure he thought I was nuts, I have no doubts that I didn’t look crazy but in that moment we connected.
We can’t predict our days, honestly we can’t predicts the hours or the minutes with our kids, for some of us, one small change could be the turning point that feels like misery (BEEN THERE). Sometimes it makes you feel like you failed or hopeless. You are not a failure, channel those emotions into remembering the moments that were successful. If you take hold to the those good moments and hold fast to that, it will help you to have the patience you need to get through those times when you feel alone, defeated or afraid.
Creator of the Melanin Homemaker Blog