The New Normal

The New Normal

Social media is great for seeing things that can be uplifting, if you are paying attention. Sometimes people share things that just lift you up or you can relate to.  In this case it was a video that someone shared. A video of a mother expressing her thoughts in regards to hopes and dreams that change when you have an autistic child. My child does not have autism. I don’t know what he has. Nobody does, but I could relate to this mother. I knew exactly what she was talking about. I recognized her pain and her struggles that she spoke about.

My son is almost twelve. When he was an infant I remember telling myself that I needed to make sure that I made life as normal as possible and to not give up going places as a family. We haven’t, but it is really hard and I am close to it.    A few years later and I thought about how my purpose in life is to just make sure he is happy.  Through the years there have been efforts to help him and teach him. Those efforts haven’t stopped but there was a moment where the concentration shifted.  Where an understanding of who he was had to take place otherwise I would be wasting energy trying to make him be something he could not be. He was simply happy and I needed to accept that he was extremely happy in his own world, in his own body. Who was I to put pressure on him, that he did not understand, to perform the way society accepts? Would it be easier if he were potty trained? Of course. Wouldn’t I love that?! However, he is not capable of that function.

Accelting my son the way he is and making my goal be to just make sure he is happy and comfortable is often met with a few blank stares. People often wonder if I am giving up instead of trying to make him normal. It is not giving up, it is more of accepting what is and living life with our new normal instead of fighting it and trying to force the a normal that will not be. This is life.

This life with my son is hard. It is also joyful. I see miracles. I see love. I feel love and growth. There are times people compliment me on my strength. I thank them. I do not always see what they see, partly because I know I could still do better.  There are times I remind people that I have two choices: to do or not to do. I chose a long time ago to do what I have to do. I am grateful I chose that route.

Each day requires energy, sacrifice, patience and love. Each day feels monotonous. The same messes to pick up, diapers to change, a life to tend to. I wouldn’t trade it though. I cannot imagine life any differently, because this is my normal.

Learning

I often feel like I hav much to learn as a parent. Every day seems to come with failed experiments. Ones in which I thought would work and yet they did not go as planned. Often though, my days still have successes. That is just a part of life. Learning and growing are a part of it.

I have been a little missing in action on this here blog thing of mine. There have been many learning moments in the last several weeks. Some days I feel as though I am succeeding and some days I go to bed wondering how I am going to make it through another day. We are all alive though.

Successful days for me include being able to keep on top of my son. Last week I was able to finally pack away all of the winter coats, gloves and boots. It felt so good. In its place were two containers that held shoes. I knew I was in trouble when my son almost immediately dumped them out so he could place the containers on the table. Really?! How could I have possibly expected my son, who likes to dump, not to dump out the shoes? Was I really expected order? I gave up! Okay, not really. I resolved to find a solution.

Several stores later I ended up at Shopko looking at their furniture. I  stopped at my favorite piece that was on sale. It looked so nice, but I was too poor.  I could not justify the expense when I could purchase another item slightly cheaper, although not as easy on the eyes.

Several minutes later I was home going through a box of furniture pieces. My kids were on top of it, and me, the whole time. They were excited thinking there was a new play toy for them. I was excited to have found a solution to my problem.

Everything went well until the second to last step. Normally I pay close attention to the directions and what side I am using but in the process of beginning the step and getting the kids out of my way I didn’t realize my mistake. Forty tiny little annoying nails later and I realized I had nailed the back onto the front. As gracefully as I could I removed those nails, and the back remained in one piece, albeit a little mangled. Eventually it was done. The doors covered up my the holes left over from my mistake. I felt accomplished. One more problem solved, and many more will come as the days go on.

Every day will bring challenges to each parent. There will be times we succeed and times we fail, and each day we hopefully get another chance to try again.