I’ve always subscribed to the idea that being optimistic is the best, the only way forward. I like to see the best in people and believe that no matter how many times you may be disappointed by others, it shouldn’t stop you from staying positive about the future.
I also like to push the envelope when it comes to believing in what I can do, how much I can manage in my work or my capacity to love and care for the important people in my life, especially the kids.
I guess that’s why I have three kids and would love to have more – if I only I could get a few more hours sleep each night! Don’t worry people, I’m not going there (at this point anyway).
Every now and then I go over the line and end up scrambling to try to catch up or needing to delegate or bring in the reinforcements. Even then, that’s OK…you live and learn. I don’t mind making mistakes, so long as I’m trying.
Having a child with autism can quickly knock the wind out of those optimistic sails. The future is suddenly very uncertain. You are in for the ride of your life and you are most definitely NOT in the drivers seat. But the autism label does not change the child – they are still that little one you adore and love beyond limits.
After a while you get used to having that label. You get used to the meltdowns, the picky eating, the slow progress. Used to having to wait for cognitive processing, to still dealing with nappies and more poo than you would ever wish upon your worst enemies. Cos that’s your little darling inching their way through their milestones, getting there – despite everything, getting there.
So you stay focussed on the day to day challenges. You hear about a great program or a wonderful therapist or the amazing ipad or chewy tube or a babysitter who can handle your situation. You keep trying every possible avenue to help make their journey a little easier. You buy books, you download apps, you trawl through the internet.
But autism is not a sprint. It doesn’t even have an end point. You are in it for the long haul, so stamina is vital. You are the coach, the cheer squad and a co-runner. You are the marketing team, the walking brochure, the general manager and the bank.
Which brings me to the title of this little ditty. It’s been pretty difficult lately. Still I look towards the brighter future – we’ll get through it etc. I know it is true and I can see it happening before my eyes. The behaviour management strategies are working, the aggression is abating and we are having a nice time together.
I have the highest hopes for my little boy but I don’t want to be a deluded fool. I want to set realistic, achievable goals that help him to find his place in the world and I want my place in that world to be one that doesn’t involve hitting my head against a brick wall (metaphorically speaking). Possible? YES…maybe…don’t know.