I wrote this last week, enjoy:
Today was a bad day.
Don't get me wrong, we've had worse. But this was definitely one of our dark days.
For those of you who may be new here, our son Calvin has Autism. At times it is high functioning, "I never would have known he was autistic!" Autism, but nevertheless, Autism. If you're interested in reading more about our story, you can read an article in the Family Magazine about us here.
For the past few months I've been in more or less a fairyland. We've been doing great as a family in terms of dealing with one another. I was feeling like we had accomplished some major social feats and we were making great strides in the world of autism.
In fact at our last appointment with Cal's "special doctor" I had explained it somehow like this: "He's been doing so great...do you think he even has autism?"
I'm pretty sure if she had been drinking soda it would have come out of her nose, "yeah, he still has autism" our doctor reported.
And today, our carriage turned back into a pumpkin and I was transformed out of fairy tale land.
The reality is this: I can plan a day of fun like we did today and then I can watch it fall apart when Cal can't handle whatever it is he can't handle. Our reality is that frequently autistic kids have very concrete things that push them over the edge but Cal many times has lots that are inconsistent. And when these days happen he goes non-verbal, so there's not a lot of communication that occurs to help us help him.
Today, MLK Jr. Day we went to Indianapolis on a road trip to go to a ton of activities that were free today. Chaching! You know this Momma likes to save some money! I even had contacted a friend from youth group and was so excited at the idea of being able to meet up for a quick chat and hug! But after the first stop (to the Children's Museum which I thought he would LOVE!) I could tell that this was going to be a no good, very bad day.
To some it would seem like we should just pack up and go home. I mean, if we know that the kid is having a bad day why stay there and continue to make a mess of the day? Well friends, there is this one little girl who is our daughter and she was very excited to be going to these things.
It's always a catch 22 with being a parent of an autistic child. I've come to see that through Emma's eyes, she gets the short end of the stick so many times. I'll say that again, so.many.times.
So we stayed and tried to make the best of the day.
The more momming I do I find that I struggle with writing these posts. As Cal gets older I don't want to embarrass him or make him feel awkward. But I write these to show you: 1) it's not all fun and games over here like so many people think it is (how you would ever think that is beyond me!) and 2) I want to encourage other Momma's that are in the midst of this. I think we need all of the encouragement we can get!
There was once a season of my motherhood that regrettably, I made autism all about me...how I was not cut out to be the mom of a special needs son, how hard my life was, how unfair all of this is. How life sucks sometimes. Pity party, pity party.
This starts to put me back in the same feeling. I feel like I want to just pout about how this ruined our day and how we're going to backslide.
But I'm not going to.
Because ever so slowly I'm learning to recognize a bad day for just that and not a bad life.
And if Cal makes me have a hard day then that means he's having an even harder day than I am.
We have great days too and I need to remember those. Cling to those. Hope for those. Expect those. I was blessed to have a photo shoot with the renown photographer, Katie Whitcomb. She captured some really beautiful moments of our life together as a family. When things seem bleak these photos help me to remember that a bad day is just a bad 24 hours.
God has put me on this path to be this sweet boy's Momma. I say "sweet boy" now and repeat it because those are the words that are hard to come to me as he's smashing his skull against my face while I try to comfort him...
The Lord has put me in this path to comfort you that, if you are in the season I've passed through, where it seems like life is against you, the cards are stacked in someone else's favor, it's never going to get better, I can tell you, it's just a bad day, week, season, month, year, whatever.
It's going to be get better.
It doesn't have to be forever.
So I am sure if I wake up tomorrow thinking it's going to be another bad day then it is in fact going to be another bad day. But I know that the Bible tells us His Mercies are New Every Morning. Meaning, I get a fresh start!
So I am choosing to chalk this off as one of those bad days, I probably had WAY too high of expectations for today anyway. So I will choose to wake up expecting nothing but the best from myself, my son, and from our God.
Because Hard Autism Days are just that...hard. Autism.days.
And even though that's my reality, I wouldn't trade that for anyone else's fairy tale for anything.