5 boys. Wow.
Let’s laugh at me for a second. Growing up I was a girly girl, heck I still am. I don’t do dirt. I don’t do bugs. I just don’t. I don’t get out there and play football. I squeal and duck when a ball is thrown towards my face (I’ve gotten better, I promise!) On top of that, I never wanted children. Never. Ever. Like hard no. And then God laughed and gave me 5 beautiful boys. These boys are exactly who and what I needed. They have pure hearts who love unconditionally, even when I screw up. They think I’m the best mom in the world and make me laugh every day. To say these beautiful miracles have changed me is an understatement. They’ve saved me.
My oldest son, Ray, was and still is an awesome boy. Everyone warned me that my second child would not be as easy as he was. I laughed, but I should have listened. Zach was born and was high needs from the second he entered the world. Zach has always been different. He’s just more. More energy, more anger, more love. It’s just who he is. After many years of struggling and fighting we finally got the diagnosis of High Functioning Autism, as well as ADHD, ODD and SPD.
High functioning autism is now what Asperger’s used to be. The powers that be changed the DSM-IV (diagnostic manual) to have all Autism diagnosis under one label. I admit, when I first got the diagnosis I was relieved, but under that relief I was sad. I was sad that this was going to be his life. And to be completely honest, I was sad that it was going to be MY life.
When we had our 3rd son, Chris(the one with EoE), and he started regressing and showing signs of autism, my heart broke a little again because I knew what journey I was about to embark on again. I knew the struggles he would have and they’ve been a lot harder than I even thought they would be.
Here’s the thing, though. I don’t want to change who they are. I don’t want to “heal” or “cure” them from autism. Autism isn’t something to cure. It is who they are. It is them. It’s what makes them special. Why would I want to change their personality? Why would I want to change them?
I realize that this is a sensitive topic, especially for other parents who have children on the spectrum. Not every mother feels the same and that’s okay. How I feel and process this doesn’t make me better than anyone else, it’s just what it is. Also, on this topic, just because a mom has a high functioning autistic child doesn’t mean that their journey isn’t difficult. We all have struggles. They’re not the same struggles, but we ALL struggle. Please don’t diminish my struggles because they look different than yours.
So here’s the deal. I have 2 possibly 3 autistic kids. I do not want to “cure” them. I do not want to “heal” their brains from this. However, I do want to love, support, and nurture all of my children to be the best forms of themselves. How I do that is entirely dependent on the child, but I will strive every minute of every day to love and challenge and support them so they know that they CAN and they WILL.