Tuesday, April 11, 2017

My Blue Reality

Today, I had a moment; a moment of weakness, a moment of sadness and grief  To be clear, there was no huge tragedy that befell us, not even a small emergency  All I did was open  Facebook and scroll down my news feed  I laughed at the usual memes, sighed and scrolled past the political rants, smiled at my friends day to day lives, even prayed for a few who have hit hard times  Then I came to a post celebrating one of my friend's children being inducted into the National Honor's Society  Then another friend's child won an award for the athletic achievements  And another's child had a poem published  I was so excited to read about all these accomplishments  I have fantastic friends and they are raising great kids  And then I had my moment  It's a moment that you may be familiar with, if you too are blessed with kids that are special needs or a little different  You are smiling and happy, celebrating for your friends and then suddenly your reality hits in stark contrast  A reality that is filled with therapy and specialist and more doctors appointments than I can count  A reality that includes medication schedules ,ARD meetings, and long calls from the school  A reality that has meltdowns, and failing grades and long sleepless nights  A reality where leaving the house for a walk is cause for great celebration, where lasting through the entire field trip is the equivalent of scaling a mountain and remembering to put on underwear and deodorant are huge milestones.
This month I light it up blue to celebrate neurodiversity and autism  I have been blessed to be a wife and a mother to some amazing people with ASD (autism spectrum disorder)  There isn't a day that goes by that I don't get the chance to learn and laugh with these boys.
That being said, there is another reality. This reality has me praying through my tears and signing my sons up for services for their adult years because some of them may not be fully independent. This is my daily reality, one that is my ever-present and mostly accepted companion.
I don't think twice about the fact that my 12-year-old is incapable of doing an eye exam without me holding his head still for the optometrist, that my 16-year-old is watching Sponge Bob and fighting off anxiety attacks while other boys his age are driving and going on dates, Or that I have to make sure my 14-year-old is wearing underwear before he leaves the house.
But every once in a while, it hits me like a ton of bricks when I watch the kids that they've grown up with moving on, growing up, and accomplishing things that aren't even on our radar yet, things that may never be on our radar.
Don't get me wrong, I'm excited for my friends and their children. I'm so happy to see all they are doing. I don't envy their achievements; I want to see all the beautiful things continue.
But there is a reality, my reality, maybe some of you, my reader's reality, that for a moment causes the grief and sadness to threaten to overwhelm. Our lives are different, our achievements and milestones are on a different chart, and our proud parent moments are hard-won and very often delayed.
Ours is a reality of persistence without the guarantee of results, A reality where therapies and medicine replace sports and ballet, A reality where a hard-won C is as exciting as a 4.0
 in other families.
To truly celebrate neurodiversity, one cannot whitewash the hard things that come with that diversity. Genuinely accepting and celebrating neuro differences means we must be honest in our triumphs and struggles. So, this year, I am celebrating Autism Awareness Month through my sadness and grief. I celebrate our achievements, and I rededicate myself to our struggles. This is my reality. This is my celebration. Peace and love to you, my friends-Kristine

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