When I was a little girl you always find me if you listened for click-clack of my plastic high heels across the wood floor. I would prance, twirl, and walk up and down the hall with these plastics heels but also with my swaddled baby in my hands.
Click, Clack, Click, Clack…
I would find our house cat Mo Kitty, and I would dress her up like a baby, swaddle her and put her in a rocker and pretend to feed her.
I routinely switched out my baby dolls and I can remember having this one doll that talked and would say words incorrectly and I would say, “No, silly it is spa-get-tee.” I got her for one of my birthdays. I wanted her so bad I asked for her for several months, a talking doll.
I was made to be a mom, from the time I was a little girl my mission was to take care of my babies, rock them, feed them, take them along with me to school and to church, honestly, I have been a mom for a really long time.
When I found out I was pregnant with Logan I was overjoyed, I spent over 40 hours hand painting his nursery with a Dr. Seuss mural. (I still think he has the best nursery in the world). I read pregnancy books, parenting books, downloaded apps to track the growth of my baby by comparing him to the size of fruit found at the local farmers market.
I knew exactly what kind of mom I was going to be, I knew what kind of parenting I was going to practice, I knew everything.
Until I realized I knew nothing.
That’s kind of how it works, doesn’t it? You can read as many books as you can read, you prepare as much as you can, but parenting is unpredictable, and I had a couple curve balls thrown at me.
Logan’s autism has changed my course of motherhood, it has made me a better person, more patience, more understanding, more loving, more compassionate, fiercer, more determined, more anxious, and a lot more assertive.
I guess Logan’s autism has made me a better person.
I didn’t know that my heart was being changed so early on into this autism journey. I actually felt that my heart was shattered as I scrambled to pick the pieces back up. Somedays still are a struggle and I barely feel like I am keeping my head above the water, bouncing on my tiptoes in the pool of autism thinking I am not sure how much longer I can keep jumping.
I’ve grasped at anything I can hold on to, diet changes, interventions, support groups, all just to stay above. There was and is still a lot I didn’t understand about autism. In the midst of this I have changed I have become a stronger swimming in this pool we have been thrown in, and as time goes on and the sun goes does down I can see a little clearer past the diagnosis, and I now can swim and wade in this autism diagnosis.
Logan’s autism pushes me way out of my comfort zone, daily. Sometimes in the simplest way and sometimes in bigger ways. I have stepped outside my comfort zone and spent hours on the phone with insurance companies, negotiating services, arguing for interventions, telling them their in-network providers are not equipped or worth the paper they write their name on.
I surely would not have ever been the mom to request four IEP meetings, requesting to speak the Special Education Director, demanding that my child IEP be followed regardless if he is in Pre-K or not. Yet, Logan gives me that strength to reach a little deeper and fight a little harder, to push past my own let downs and insecurities to ensure his progress.
Autism has given me the thicker skin to ignore the words of people who don’t understand, the stares of disbelief, and the gasps when someone sees Logan’s stimming or meltdowns.
You see, I used to be one of these people. I didn’t know and I didn’t take the time to know. I would gasp when I saw a child laying on the floor of a grocery store screaming, crying, and hitting. I would get wide-eyed in the line watching a child screaming and yelling for the candy in the aisle. I would look a little too long at a child that was stimming or tilt my head to the side if I heard a kid scripting.
Autism has changed that about me, I’d be the first to help a mom of a child having a tantrum get her groceries on the belt. I’d be the first to stop and entertain the toddler in the cart as the mom is on the ground with her other child who is in a meltdown, I have been there it is hard. I would be the first perhaps give grace a lot more freely than I ever gave before.
I am the mom who has carried my child out sideways as he has kicked, screamed, bit and slapped me the whole way out of a store. A meltdown that was brought on by airplanes not lining up correctly. Only, to get to the car to realize that I left my wallet in the shopping cart and having to walk right back into the store in front of the same people who watched me walk out in disbelief.
Logan has taught me that it doesn’t matter what others think or perceive, they aren’t on this journey with us. Honestly, we don’t have time to focus on what others perceptions. We have the skills to gain, goals to meet, adventures to be made, and fun to be had. While most people’s opinions come without experience or knowledge of autism and are based on what they simply think or feel that they know.
[bctt tweet=”Logan’s autism has taught me more patience and perseverance than I ever could have imagined. Patience to allow him to gain skills, communication, and progress at this own pace, not at the pace recommended by doctors or growth charts.” username=””].
He doesn’t progress at the rate of his classmates, his cousins, or my friends’ children. He progresses at his time, his pace, in his world and that is perfectly fine. Slow and steady with some steps back has been our story. He perseveres through his challenges continually amazing me at his strength and makes progress daily. I am always in awe of him and his abilities. His drive to keep trying, his drive to get it, his drive to achieve.
His autism has taught me to appreciate and celebrate every progress and milestone in his life. It has shown me that the little things matter. Little things are hard work in our family. Celebrations that many other families don’t celebrate, like successfully potty training, being able to dress himself, staying in the yard, and approaching another child at the playground. These are big deals in our family. We celebrate them, we celebrate getting through the grocery store without tears, leaving for therapy without protest. Some of these things come naturally for other kids but for us they can be a struggle, and we celebrate every win.
Logan’s autism has taught me a deeper love than I could ever imagine. While our back and forth conversations are just forming. Autism has taught me there are more ways to communicate than words. Logan has shown me the importance of looking at behavior as a form of communication. Logan has shown me the importance of touch, a hug, holding a hand, and a simple smile or nod to express feelings of love, fear, anxiety, and the need for closeness. This has made me a better mom, a better spouse, and a better nurse.
Logan’s autism has taught me the importance of equality and accommodations for disabilities. I realized how much I didn’t know till I started navigating the word from Logan’s perspective. Accommodations don’t take away from people without disabilities, it makes it accessible and fair to others with a disability. Simple and fair things that make others lives better. There are still so many accommodations that need to be done.
Logan’s autism has taught me the importance of advocacy and education regarding autism. The autism spectrum is so vast and wide. There is a huge lack of understanding and education when it comes to autism. So many people are scared of the word, scared of the diagnosis, scared of what they don’t know. I know, I was petrified when Logan was diagnosed. Logan is one of the coolest kids I know, you just have to take time to get to know him he is more than autism. He is silly, blunt, loving, a protector of his sister, and a believer in the power of transformations.
I share Logan’s struggles, and triumphs because this kid is so strong, determined, and he is an overcomer. I am blessed to be his mom. He often fights battles much bigger than he should have to and does so with such dignity and strength. He makes me a better person my heart is filled with love, empathy, and so much pride. I am so thankful for the blessing he has been to my life. I am excited about the things he will teach me along this journey. The things we will learn together, the struggles we will face, and the memories we will make.
Comment below with what has made you a better parent? Do you often find your biggest struggles create your biggest growth?