When living with Autism, you MUST embrace the small things, otherwise you would find yourself spiriling down an endless chasm. The stress is tremendous on each individual of a family, the family dynamics and your marriage. The divorce rate of parents that have only 1 Autistic child is between 80 and 85 percent! So families having 2 or more children on the spectrum MUST be much higher, it isn’t even mentioned! Fortunately I have been blessed with an amazing husband. Not only is he running a business, worrying about or parenting older children, he is also coming home to children with a disability. I give him so much credit. Dave has not EVER, since Hayley and Hunter’s diagnosis complained, moaned, groaned or had a pity party for himself….. Unlike me……. I HAVE complained, moaned, groaned and have thrown some magnificent pity parties for myself. Dave sees the glass half filled, I see it half empty. I tend to shut down, yet Dave will come home after a long day at work, load the washer, the dryer, fold clothes, empty the dishwasher etc. I really don’t deserve him. I will say since I have seeked professional help I am doing better yet Dave still continues to help me whenever he can.
Now to the small things. I could not imagine life without Hayley and Hunter, I do believe God brought them to us for a purpose. When the older kids were small we took many, many, many vacations. It was just a given that we could drive, fly, cruise wherever we wanted. We went out to eat alot and we would have people come over to our table to commend us as parents for the stellar behavior of Katie, Kevin, Craig & Tracey (of course they did not see behind the scenes). On any given day I or Dave could say “go out and play” and they were capable of that. We could get babysitters and have “date nights” or we used to on a weekend night say Mom and Dad are going to have a romatic dinner. This consisted of me setting the table in the Library, decorating it with candles, turning on the music and fireplace. We would close the blinds and have conversation and eat in peace.
Right now those days are gone. But I have to hope and believe not forever. Now Dave and I look, listen I and see what small joys have occured each day. Some of them have been:
The unconditional love that Hunter gives us, he tells me he couldn’t imagine me not being his mother. He is thankful to be in this “wonderous” family (yes he talks like this). Dad is the best dad because he wrestles with me and builds dinosaurs.
The first time at age 8, Hayley saying “love mommy” and giving me a kiss.
Hunter getting up early on a weekend and having a major spread of breakfast items set out on the counter for me, Dave and Hayley.
Hayley just recently at age 9 saying 4 word sentences.
Hunter being able to control his anger at the girl on the bus that makes fun of him.
Hayley being able to understand Florida means: Nova, Bernie, Katie, Bill, Beach, Purple Room.
Hunter each day asking Hayley to come to the computer and putting on her favorite disney cartoons and trying to teach her the mouse.
I could go on and on. Are these very small things to the normal child, of course. Do you take your kids for granted for being able to have a conversation, play sports, games, play with children, go to movies? I know I did when the 4 older ones were little. Now I have a totally different perspective. Just hearing Hayley say “love mommy”, or say “great room movie”. Hunter showing us love and not caring if kids make fun of him. The change in the older kids being forced to live with Autism and I will say change for the better. They each have more compassion and are not so quick to judge.
None of us should take anyting in life for granted. It is a gift that should be enjoyed. Love the little things, enjoy life and the next time you argue with you child about homework, remember us…….We would give up everything we have to be able to have the argument with Hunter and Hayley……….
Embrace the small things!