If someone would have told me when I became a mother I would have to raise two autistic boys through their prime emotional advancements by myself I would have said ok, I am up for the challenge. I have never had a problem with the hard things of life. I fought through illnesses of my own as a child and fighting became part of how people perceived me. I was not the pretty one or the smart one, but out of the four girls I was definitely the tough one. I took life by the horns and walked through life as I was walking through fire. It was only later that I realized using this emotional path became the very reason I eventually gave into other things to relieve the pressure and pain that I internalized.
When I became a single parent my boys were young. Four months and two. My two-year old idealized his father who unfortunately became totally absent in his life at that time. He was a challenging boy who began to walk at 10 months. He was constantly on the move and at that age he never wanted to be alone. He tinkered with every toy. It was then I learned to take 30 second showers and always leave the bathroom door open. He was always by my side and had to know everything I was doing. He would never take a nap and the only time I could keep him still was if he was watching a movie even though he had seen it a thousand times.
My youngest son was to young at the time to feel displaced. Or so I thought. He was a biter. He smeared the bathroom walls. He would just drop his pants and do his business. He is very sensitive to noise. He could not stand banging on the pots and pans and screaming through the house that Caleb was so famous for. It was night and day. Both of them had their issues but they were both completely opposite.
Mornings became a fight. As I would start to dress one the other was pulling off his socks because they bothered his feet. But, magically we started to understand each other. I guess they realized mommy wouldn’t yell so much if we could just get out of the house with some sort of clothing on. Caleb started to become my little helper and started to help Conner understand the whole cloths idea. We began to evolve. It is hard to be a perfectionist when you are mopping up the bathroom floor every five minutes during bath time. And just making a path through the room to their beds became sufficient at the time.
I can tell you about the hours of therapy.
I can tell you about the impaired motor skills.
But, I want to tell you how far we have come. I want to tell you how athletically inclined both boys are. How Conner Loves baseball and has been a decorated player every year. Caleb loves chess and is academically advanced in everything he does. They are best friends and love each other immensely. They have made many friends. Conner and I will bake for people and he has become a very sensitive, giving person who can look into people’s hearts and know if they need a pat on the back. He knows the right thing to say and he is very emotional. Caleb is also a very sweet child. It is hard for him to see the emotional needs of other people but we are still working on it. He will help anybody and he has never meet a stranger. He will make anyone feel comfortable in any situation.
These boys were made perfectly for me by God and I feel blessed that God allowed me to raise these wonderful, special children. I may not always do the best thing for them but I have learned through it. I have learned to slow down and enjoy the little accomplishments in life others might easily pass over. Autism might be an impairment but it has made my life awesome by allowing me to be a part of these two little lives.