That's when I first started this blog.
That was exactly 4 years ago.
That was 3 years AFTER "the diagnosis".
That's a total of 7 years of dealing with the crap that is AUTISM.
If you want a refresher, here is the link to my first post ever.
I just turned 40. Reaching such a big milestone made me stop and take a look back at my life a bit. Where have I been? What have I done ? Reading my first post on this blog makes me cringe. At the time I was about to enter the lowest of my lowest points in my life. I had no idea I was drowning. Looking back at all the posts since then makes me want to cry along with that girl typing away (no "you are 40 and not a girl anymore" jokes please...thanks). In a way, I needed this blog. I needed to vent and express all that I was going through. It's not that autism has gotten easier. Actually, I still can't put my finger at exactly what IT is. Autism still sucks. I still have low points. The difference is that maybe now I can handle it a little more gracefully. Just a little.
My husband and I have realized that this is not a short term issue. We have realized that we have spent the majority of our 30's swimming against the current, not making it very far and almost drowning. It's hard to parent and live when you are exhausted from "swimming". We all know that 80% of marriages of autism parents do not make it. Who wants to be a statistic? Sometime last year my husband and I took a step back and decided that we were going to keep swimming but we would do something differently. We were going to take self imposed time outs to play. Adult play. You know, dining? movies? something OTHER than autism? What a concept! We rallied out troops are realized that we have a LOT of family support in terms of babysitting. At least more than the average person. Instead of staying home after the kids have gone to sleep, we go out. We have actual adult conversation. We have wine. Lost of wine. Sometimes, we even travel. Gasp! yup, travel.
It could not have come at a better time. Taking these time outs has made us more patient, loving and level headed. We are not letting the anger consume us anymore. We are letting it fuel us to continue in a more positive way. Positive. Did I just type that? wow. Of course we still lose it from time to time. We cry, we scream and we curse autism. It sucks you know. But all I am saying is that it has gotten...BETTER.
I have met a couple of moms recently who have told me they look up to me. Me? really? why? don't they know I am a mess? Surely they don't mean me. But, it seems as though I have grown out of a lot of the autism grief and started controlling it instead of letting it control me and my life. It has been quite an eye opener. I was also talking to a very old friend today. She reminded me just how far I have come. "You are smiling again" she said. "There were a lot of things you use to say years ago that made me realize just what a bad place you were in and I just listened and supported you". If you read the first like in my first post from 2007 it says "Flash that million dollar smile". It was a reference to a high school yearbook phrase used to describe a photo of mine from 20 years ago. Phew! that was a long time ago. For a long time there, I did not know where that girl went. Where was she? Who was this other person taking over her body?
I owe part of my "improvement" to Quinn's birth too. (shameless plug alert: check out his blog HERE! ) Quinn is such a happy little boy. He lights up any room with his smile and attitude. We worked really hard for Quinn and although it has been hard and he is not exactly out of the autism window yet: he helped put things into focus. Knowing Kai and Quinn will potentially have each other as companions for life puts me at ease a bit. Comparing Quinn's life to Kai's I have been able to make level headed decisions that will benefit them both and ourselves. I am also more focused because of them.
Kai is always improving . He is currently attending an amazing summer camp where he has learned how to swim underwater! My little Nemo! He is reading at an upper 2nd grade level and doing upper 1st grade math (although he is going into 4th grade). He speaks more fluently now and exhibiting a lot of new cognitive skills. Yes he is still doing a DAN! protocol, attends an ABA based school, does hippotherapy and attends a weekly social group. But, I don't know what has worked or what has not worked. I do know that besides all the treatments and therapies we have thrown his way, TIME has helped and been key. Is there a common denominator here?
It has worked for me.
It has worked for Kai.
I hope the 40's bring more positive into my life than it did in my 30's. I am welcoming it with open arms because frankly, my feet hurt. They hurt from kicking so much ass lately. Oh yeah, you read it correctly. Cheesey but I mean it. Bring it on. I am ready. New decade. New me. For me and for my kids because now, I am smiling again.
Oh and in case you were wondering about the adorable PEACE LOVE AUTISM logo I used above for this entry, here is the scoop: My sister blog PUZZLE PEACE NOW is owned by a very close friend and partner in crime. It is all about what brings us asd parents "peace" in this crazy journey. She is also a very talented blogger unlike myself (please spare comparisons..be nice!). In addition, you can pick up one of those logos as your very own CAR MAGNET! Time to lose that old school blue puzzle one you have on your car and pick this one up! Hurry! go read!