It’s Monday Morning and the house is completely quiet. In the air is the aroma of a freshly brewed pot of coffee. And I am sitting here, by myself. Alone. That’s what a lot of Mondays are like.
And then there are the other Mondays, when there is chaos, and I am not peacefully drinking a cup of coffee.
Not to say that parenting in general isn’t hard, because it is; but parenting a child with autism has its own unique challenges not normally experienced in the context of parenting. Parenting a child with autism is hard. I would never admit that out loud. Rather, I will almost always sugar coat everything and laugh off a lot of not so great moments and pretend that everything is always okay.
Of course, everything is not always okay. There are days when I am frustrated and exhausted. There are the moments when I give in and allow myself to cry. There are the moments when I silently think to myself “Why me?”
I suppose the only answer to that question is “ Because.”
It isn’t because I have any special supermom powers, because I don’t. I am just as human as the rest of the world. I make mistakes, sometimes the same one multiple times. It isn’t because I have been gifted with an extraordinary gift of patience, because I can become very impatient at times. It certainly isn’t because I am structured and organized, because I am one of the most unstructured and unorganized people you will ever meet. It isn’t because I am a people person and have exceptional socialization skills to teach to my children, because (although I do like almost everyone I meet) I would much rather be by myself.
So for those reasons alone, parenting a child with autism is sometimes very hard.
I’ve gotten used to it. Again, not because I have some sort of superhuman mom powers or some fantastic sense of perseverance. I’ve gotten used to it, because this is my life, and the only life I know.
And even though I have those moments; when I lose my temper or I’m at my wit’s end or I feel like I have just about lost my sanity, suddenly I have a moment like this and then I realize that it really isn’t that bad.
Joy. Pure joy.
These are the moments I treasure the most; when the child who was moments ago was screaming on the top of his lungs comes up to me and puts his arm around me and sweetly says to me, “Momma, are you happy?” It is impossible to feel frustrated or overwhelmed.
The only thing to say at that moment is “Yes buddy, I’m happy.”
I can’t imagine my life any other way.