Here’s the follow up to It’s time to get brutally honest about #Autism Parenting (pt 1) from last night. I encourage you to read the first part by clicking the link above. This will help to put this post into perspective and proper context. Also, I know that some may not be able to relate because their lives are more challenging than mine and my heart goes out to you..
While studies have shown that Autism Mom’s and Dad’s, experience stress levels akin to that of active duty combat soldiers (this is totally true, look it up), there’s more to Autism Parenting than just stress.
It’s sometimes hard to focus on the positive things because often times the negatives are so overwhelming that the positive sorta gets lost in the struggle.
Again, as I said in the previous post, I’m speaking only for myself but I wouldn’t be shocked if many of you can relate.
As a single Dad to 3 boys in various places on the Autism Spectrum, I have a challenging responsibility. In spite of that challenge, I try really hard not to lose sight of the many amazing things that being an Autism Parent has brought into my life.
I make a significant effort to focus on the amazing things that transpire in my life, as a direct result of being an Autism Parent. I’m not gonna lie, it’s not always easy or even possible but it’s still worth the effort.
My kids have taught me more than I can probably ever teach them.
In the previous post, I made a I feel guilty because list and now it’s time to balance the scales a bit with some positive aspects of Autism, at least in regards to my kiddos.
My kids have taught me what pure, unconditional love means, to both give and receive.
I’m amazed by my kids never give up additude towards life.
My kids have taught me to slow down and appreciate all the little things in life, that the rest of the world often overlooks, misses or takes for granted.
I’m amazed by all the progress my kids have and continue to make.
My kids have taught me to be a better person.
I’m amazed by my kids ability to be who they are and simply not care what the world thinks.
My kids have taught me to treasure every single hug/kiss and to remember how blessed I am to get them because not every Autism Parent does.
I’m amazed by the genuine concern, love and compassion my kids have for all living things.
My kids have taught me to celebrate all the victories, no matter the size because all are significant.
Much like yesterday’s list, I could go on and on.
Being an Autism Parent isn’t easy. It’s not in the same universe as easy. There are days that will damn near break me but there’s always those little moments that come along as well. These little moments give me the strength I need to get up off my ass and push forward.
The little moments are often things that, unless you’re an Autism Parent, you might not fully appreciate. Things like finally being able to tie their own shoes, using the grownup potty, trying a new food, wearing clothes for more than a few minutes before ripping them back off because they feel too itchy, coming home from school with a smile, spilling a few drops of water on themselves without having a massive meltdown, not bolting for the street the moment the front door opens, coping with a change to their routine without it resulting in the apocalypse (you laugh but holy shit, I’m not kidding) and my all time favorite little moments are when I get a hug or a kiss for no reason at all.
These are the moments that make all the rest of it worthwhile. These are the moments when I am reminded of just how amazing my kids really are. Amazingly challenging? Yes but amazing in their own right..
As an Autism Parent, I encourage you to try and find one positive thing in each day. I know there are plenty of days where I’m really hard pressed to find the upside to anything. On those days I’m just grateful to have survived the day.
Stay strong. Connect with others who get it. Don’t keep your feelings bottled up inside. Don’t give a shit about what the world thinks because you’re doing what you know is best, even if it doesn’t make sense to the rest of the world.
Keep on keeping on….. ☺