autism, Uncategorized

Fears for the Future

Noah was officially diagnosed with autism when he was three. I had no idea how much my life would change with this diagnosis. It was devastating in the beginning. It was like I went through a grieving process. I was terrified about his future. We had no idea what to expect. Autism has no two kids alike. They call it a spectrum for a reason because the severity and behaviors vary from kid to kid. The things that you assumed would come naturally were now a waiting game. Sometimes I wondered if those milestones would ever happen. Having a typical kid before Noah meant that I already had my own preconceived ideas of the things he would do as he grew. Maybe it’s my own fault but I assumed he would be a lot like his brother. I assumed he would be athletic and want to play sports but he had no interest. He loved dinosaurs, animals and bugs. I assumed that he would be a little chatter box and talk non stop but instead I was thrilled to get him to say any words at all. The worries and fears that I had for Noah and his future were new territory for me.

How will he be treated by his peers? Will he be bullied? Will he ever have a best friend? Will other kids play with him on the playground or will he even acknowledge them if they approach him? Will he be able to continue to be in a traditional classroom? Will he go to prom? Will he graduate? Will he go on to college? Will he move out on his own? Will he get married? Will he have kids? The list of questions for his future could go on and on. Some days I let these questions and these worries take over my mind but recently I read a quote that helped me change the way I was thinking.

“Don’t let your fears for the future stop your joys in the present.”

It occurred to me that I’ve been letting so many of my fears get in the way of the day to day successes that we have. I’m working on just taking things day by day instead of worrying constantly about what the future holds for him.

Noah has had so many breakthroughs this year. He has learned to ask for help instead of getting frustrated and crying. He has learned to wait (2.5 mins to be exact) before he asks again for something. He has adjusted to being in a traditional classroom. He is making progress academically and has been able to learn in an environment with all typical kids around him. He has learned to look to his peers to do what they are doing if he didn’t understand the directions given by the teacher.

One of my biggest fears has always been him being bullied. We are so lucky that it is not an issue in his class. There are 3 girls in particular that go out of their way to help him. I get emotional when I think about the fact that they have taken on the job of helping him without being asked to do so. Kids can be wonderful, kind and loving little humans.

When the autism community talks about autism awareness and acceptance we want to teach everyone but I feel like adults need the most teaching. Kids model what they learn at home. I’m just happy that we have amazing kids and parents in Noah’s class that practice patience and kindness toward others that are different. They give me hope.

~M

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happiness, parenting, Uncategorized

Its been a long time…

Life happens and I abandoned my blog quite a while ago. I loved blogging about our family but I found myself stretched thin and exhausted all the time. I feel like as a mom and wife its easy to put yourself, your interests and your happiness on the back burner. Over the years I’ve lost more and more of me. I spend my days dedicated to taking care of my family. You name it and I do it. Cleaning, cooking, laundry, shopping, paying the bills, managing doctor appointments, therapy sessions, transportation to and from for our younger kids, and the list could go on.

Don’t get me wrong I love being a mom and wife but I’ve lost myself in the midst of taking care of everyone else. I actually believed that it was necessary for me to let go of me and only focus on them. I had drifted away from the person I once was. I was still wearing a smile on my face and getting everything done but inside I felt a little lost. Despite feeling sad and alone, I refused to talk about it. Primarily because I knew I had so much to be thankful for. I kept telling myself, “you have no real reason to be unhappy”. I wasn’t sure what I needed to do to fix it but I didn’t want to let anyone know that I was feeling this was. I put other people’s happiness before mine.

So…Not only did I feel unhappy but I began to doubt myself. I had reached the point that I wasn’t happy with some of my friendships as well. In not so many words, I broke away from some close friendships just because I didn’t know how to express how bad they were making me feel about myself… I will admit that running away from an issue isn’t the answer but I was not where I am today. I know that the “right” thing to do would have been expressing how I felt. Literally I should have said “I feel like I’m in a Mean Girls movie and not one of the mean girls.” Ha! I felt like they didn’t value my opinion as much as I valued theirs. That I was willing to go out of my way but others weren’t willing to do that for me. I was reverting back to those teenage years where you worry about silly things. I was worrying about how people viewed me. I began questioning everything about myself. Was I not cool enough? Why weren’t we included? Is it because they don’t think we’re fun? Did my kids bother our friends? I seriously was a 35 year old woman…. Married… with a career and three children… and I was still consumed with those questions. But something changed. I can’t tell you the exact event that caused me to hit that point but I do remember that moment that I decided I wasn’t going to be unhappy anymore. I literally said out loud, “I am too old for this shit. I’m tired of being fake and putting me last.” One way or another I will be a person who is happy on the inside not just the outside.

I gave myself a few quotes to use as my daily reminders that I was working towards being a happier me.

“In the end I am the only one who can give my children a happy mother who loves life.”

“Sometimes the people around you won’t understand your journey. That’s okay. They don’t need to because it’s not for them.”

“Find Joy in the Journey.”

“Let your past make you better not bitter.”

“Stop doubting yourself for everything that you aren’t and start loving yourself for everything you already are.”

My own individual pursuit of happiness. I started with self reflection, acknowledgement and eventually transformation. I’ve had to make many changes and some were easier than others. Letting go of anything in my life that wasn’t uplifting. Letting go of negative thoughts and energy.  Finding a healthy balance of taking care of my people but also taking care of me. Learning to not care what other people think. Making time for myself. I did what I needed to do to start my journey to be a happier me. I am still finding my way but continually making progress. I’m in a good place and finding my balance.

I’m ready to start blogging again and I have so much to write about. So much has happened over the past 2 years I’m not sure where to start to catch up.

~M

 

 

 

Uncategorized

Joy Thief

Browsing on FB the other day and I came across this post made by Glennon/Momastery. (Glennon has an amazing story and a wonderful blog that you should check out. http://momastery.com )
“During my internet fast, I learned that Facebook makes me feel bad. I wish I were cooler so it wouldn’t effect me, but it does. I once saw an Olympic swimmer interviewed after winning a race and she said “I swim best when I mentally stay in my own lane.” Me too. Facebook just takes me right out of my own lane- every single time. No matter how satisfied I am with my life, career, family, social life, etc etc – as soon as I log on to Facebook and peek into others’ lives, I immediately feel that unease caused by comparison. I start to doubt myself. I just feel a little kernel of doubt settle into my gut and it feels really bad. Comparison is the thief of joy, and Facebook is a breeding ground for comparison, don’t you think? I called my Sister the other day and said, “I’m going to quit Facebook. I don’t use it right. Whether I want to or not, I just end up comparing myself to everyone else.” And Sister said, “Actually, you’re using it for the exact thing it was designed for. Remember- some college guys made it to compare women to each other.” And I thought- AH. Right. Huh. The origin of Facebook is really annoying and offensive, actually, when you think about it. And even more annoying is that we often still use it for what it was originally intended:Comparison. I think our only hope for joy is gratitude and comparison shoves us out of gratitude swiftly and dependably. Does anyone else ever feel this way? If not, never mind, me neither. I’m totally cool over here.”
When I read this I thought… oh my goodness ME TOO! Why do I let myself get caught up in that? Why do I compare my life to others anyway? Why do I find myself comparing… my house, car, kids, vacations, success, etc with others? Because like she said in her post, when I start to compare I immediately begin to doubt my own happiness. I rethink how satisfied I am with my life. All the comparing steals my joy!
At first I was going to just shutdown my Facebook page but that’s not the answer. I know that Facebook is how many of my friends and family are able to keep up with our boys and truly enjoy seeing their pictures. I need to learn how to be content. I need to learn not to compare my life with others. So I’ve decided to make a change. I’ve decided #1 limit how much time I spend on Facebook. And #2 when I am on Facebook I am going say to myself before I get on that I am merely here to browse and not to compare and not cause disruption in my life.
My life is not perfect at all and I don’t pretend that it is. I never want to come across that way to others. But I want to keep the joy that I do have. I want to be thankful for what I have. I have a beautiful wife and 2 amazing boys. I have a roof over my head. I have a job that I love. I have wonderful friends near and far. I have a supportive family. I have so many things to be thankful for that I will not allow anything to steal my joy anymore.