I love my hubby. He truly is amazing with the boy. Because of him, I can completely understand how God uses the strengths and weaknesses of different people to work toward wonderful results. My personality type is that I need to solve problems. I can’t play video games because of my NEED to beat the game. When my oldest was young, we rented a Play Station from Blockbuster Video (sorry if you are too young to know those!) and the Harry Potter game. I was up until 2am trying to beat it. I then realized that there is no way that I can play games that don’t have built-in ways to cut me off. I get obsessed with winning, figuring out the puzzle, with finishing. I’m that person who will read a novel in 2 nights because I read it until I pass out. I want to finish. I need things to be figured out and I have a drive to understand things at a deep level. It is this trait that is a blessing to the boy – because I will come at a problem 300 different ways until I come to a solution.
Do NOT get me wrong. I am not talking about a solution that is going to change who he is.
He is not defined by Autism.
I am not Autistic, yet we share a lot of the same types of traits. Those traits make up who we are and unless they get in the way of our functioning in the world – they should be embraced. Unless these traits are a byproduct of an imbalance – they should be embraced. Unless these traits make the person unhappy – they should be embraced.
I HATE CROWDS
I am not a social butterfly. I am not a club person. I am not a lover of parties. I panic when I need to walk into a new situation, have to meet a new person, or if I don’t know what is going to happen. I didn’t take a lunch during High School because the idea of walking into a lunchroom with all those people and not knowing if my few friends would be available, scared me to death. Driving to a new place I have never been before stresses me out beyond belief. I want GPS, written directions, a printed map and no distractions.
I identify with my son.
But I still go to get-togethers. I still walk into unknown situations and I will drive to new places armed with my crutches to help me get through. I have about 6 different essential oils and blends in my purse to help me center myself and gather my courage to do what needs to be done.
See I am not Autistic.
I am just a mom who doesn’t like these things. I put on my Valor or breathe in some Stress Away essential oil blends and psyche myself up for what I need to do. I can talk to myself and rationalize and function.
See I am not Autistic.
When my hubby wants me to go to a small concert with him or a sporting event, I can look at him and tell myself to buck up and just do it. When he asks me to go with the family to a crowded amusement park, the beach or to a fair; I look at him and know how much he enjoys these things. I think about how much my children enjoy these things and I will just do it. Thankfully, he knows how hard it is for me and he doesn’t ask me to do it often. Truthfully, with him there with me, I can do almost anything. He is my rock.
See I am not Autistic.
Hubby took the boy back to our hometown in NJ this past weekend. The boy needed to see his Autism Specialist to have a test done. Doctor’s appointments are crazy stressful for the boy, so Hubby took him alone. Bless his heart, I would never be able to do it.
Last night, as we were talking and catching up about the goings on, I learned that Hubby took the boy to a local football game.
OH MY WORD
I could feel my apprehension rising over the idea. See I wouldn’t enjoy that, and I certainly wouldn’t enjoy that with the boy. There would be so many things that could possibly go wrong. I can handle crowds and commotion when I have to do it, but it is almost too much to bear to have to deal with all of that AND be in tune to the boy every second. I talk more about the high alert a parent needs to be on when taking a child who suffers from sensory issues and/or has Autism HERE.
Bless my Hubby. He doesn’t bat an eye about taking the boy into new situations and stretching that child. They went to the game and when the boy was stretched and Hubby could tell that it was just too overwhelming for too long, he took him for a walk away from everyone. Away from the commotion and away from the bustle that was stressful. The boy did great, and was rewarded with a stroll in a quiet area with his father. The boy was out in the world and learned that when it gets to be too much, there is a way out. He doesn’t have to feel trapped. He learned a mechanism that will serve him very well in adulthood. He learned how to maintain control and that it is okay to remove yourself from a situation before you hit the point of no return.
Hopefully, with more and more exposure, the boy will be able to be out in places longer and longer. He does amazingly well now in crowded areas that he is familiar with. He will come up to the crowded craft fair where I have my store and enjoys being pushed around in his wheelchair for a couple of hours. He likes to watch the dogs that people bring with them. When he has reached his limit, he will do certain things to let his father know he is ‘all done’ and they will leave. It is a beautiful thing, to see a child who struggles with so much, overcome an obstacle and enjoy himself.
Autism has taught me that we all need to be stretched. We don’t grow unless we are stretched. The Lord has put many things in my path that are uncomfortable for me – VERY uncomfortable for me. Things that make me want to hide. Instead of hiding, I slather on whatever essential oil I am feeling in ‘the mood’ for that day and face it. I want the boy to be able to face the world too.
So I will never give up.