DO I STILL HAVE WHAT IT TAKES?
So I read this great blog about Mommy Magic the other day and it got me thinking; now that my kids are older, do I still have what it takes to create the magic that followed them through their younger years?
The magic that filled the house with red balloons one Valentine’s Day. Or that time we saw Peter Pan at Disney and my oldest stood in awe as I gasped with delight at seeing our favorite character. Or the night my youngest, the one with Aspergers, slowly drank the caffeine-filled soda I forced on him and for the first time was able to tell me why he was having a tantrum.
Do I still instinctively know what a 14 year old man-boy needs when he has shut me and everyone else in the world out. Can I calm a tantrum, after almost 7 years of dealing with them. Am I still a Mommy?
Today is world Autism Day and even though I have not written in a while, I always try to write for today… as a way to create solidarity within the mommy world by letting you know, you are not alone. They say if you meet one child with autism you have met one child with autism. Every story is so very different, but laced into the differences are similarities, pains, joys and daily life that we can all connect with.
Truth is, my story has become less about a child with autism and more about a family with autism. I look around at the four of us (and sometimes even the dogs) and I realize we are all living with autism. We are all dealing with the highs and lows, wondering what each day will bring. We all know the triggers and signs of bumpy roads ahead. And we all love each other unconditionally through it all.
Where I struggle is keeping individual identities. Even for myself. And that is where I question my “magic” abilities. Sometimes, the bad parts of autism can wrap you up and swallow you whole. Whether it’s me talking to a teacher for the third time in a week, my husband trying to balance work and home life so as to keep the ship upright, or the oldest who, when tantrums erupt, puts on his headphones and cancels out the noise that he cannot deal with.
Some times that bad is so loud it distracts from the good. And that is why I know I need to tap into my dormant magic and bring joy to days that sometimes just suck. And I also have to remember that magic is not simply a prolonged distraction… more video games, more tv, more internet. Magic is showing love in ways that the boys and my husband can feel, see and touch. It’s less about having the laundry done and more about looking into my heart and really giving to each of the boys in my life. And when I do that, things like balloons on Valentine’s Day happen.
I once told my oldest that living with people is hard. And, quite frankly, it is. No mistake about it. There are four different people living under this roof and sometimes we move as a unit and sometimes we are on our own. Sometimes we need space and other times, a group hug. Each person needs time alone with each other, time with the family and time by themselves. It’s a lot to manage and no calendar package out there can also tie in who is hungry, grumpy, happy, anxious or any of the other million emotions that bubble inside a home.
So is my home really that different from yours? Not really. People are people and at the end of the day all we need is love. A simple truth, and a catchy tune. Creating magic does get harder as the boys get older… it’s so easy to surprise and delight a younger child. I work hard at showing love, even when I don’t feel like it. My prayer is that what little magic is left is still noticed and acknowledged in the hearts of my boys. And while my mommy role has evolved, it is still intact and necessary. Maybe even more now than ever.
As today is World Autism Day, please take a minute to learn the statistics… #1in68 children are now diagnosed on the spectrum. And also, please learn the signs because early intervention can mean the difference between a good day and a bad one.