There is this weird line to tread, as a caregiver.
You see, as Jess at A Diary of a Mom often and rightfully notes, our desire to share cannot ever trump our loved one’s right to dignity, respect and privacy.
Yet I come here, regularly enough, to share our journey with those of you who might read it. It’s a very hard line to toe.
I try to decide on what to write or share by looking at whether or not I would be comfortable with it being in the local large newspaper. I look at it from J’s point of view, trying to decide what might be hurtful or embarrassing to him when he might read this as he gets older. I want this place to always remain a safe space for him, even when there’s hard topics written about, and above all I always want him to know that everything here is written with love and care.
Parts of me are still trying to learn what it is to be the mother to a child who has autism and what my responsibilities to him are as such. The protective instincts a parent has are compounded in my by my own anxiety disorder. The idea of him hurt, or being hurt, is a massive trigger to my PTSD. Rock, meet hard place, right? Yet, each day it gets better. How does it get better?
Because he teaches me. And oh, does he teach me.
I am learning, through lessons taught in minute gestures or loud screams, what it is my son is and is not ready for or capable of. What is he capable of? Anything he well pleases in his own time, in his own way. This is important. I cannot hold him to the standards of black and white rule books. He will not be a textbook child and this is not a thing to be hurt by or upset about but to rejoice in. He will do every conventional thing he wants and he will likely do it all in unconventional ways.
I am so down for that. I am so eager for that.
And all of this that I never thought I could handle; the parent I never thought I could be has always been there, just waiting for this moment. It is all thanks to not the parents who wronged me but the people who came into my life and did right. Each one has given me at least one if not many of the tools I need to be there for my son, to be the grown up he needs and to be ready for the highs and lows of his unique journey. I know not everyone believes in God, and that’s alright, but I do. There’s something to this divine plan stuff, and He must have been planning a long time for this little boy. He has something special to give the world, and I just hope in sharing his story I am doing right by him and right by those with whom we share it.
So this whole post isn’t weird and sappy, a J milestone:
Last night, J sat on the floor playing with his little airplane. He flew it around, the way you expect kids to do and in the way he rarely has before. Moments later, he was doing the same… with his toy tractor.
Fly on, toy tractor. Fly on. I love seeing his imagination juuust starting to peek through. It’s a beautiful place, his mind. A beautiful place indeed.