I was going to write a thanksgiving post last Thursday about all that I am grateful for, but it sounded just like I knew it would. I’m grateful for my family, my friends, the wonderful people I have met in the last three years, my health…but it wasn’t interesting, even to me. Blah, blah, blah. I stopped and decided to just live the day and enjoy.
GC and I cooked and baked, cleaned up the kitchen, played basketball with the Roc, welcomed his high school friend Greg and his sister into our home, ate and laughed, cleaned the kitchen again, ate some more, went to bed full and with a sink full of dirty dishes. Throughout the rest of the weekend I thought about the post I was going to write, the pictures I was going to take, and all the changes that have happened over the last few years, when it hit me. Change.
I am so grateful for the changes and the richness and depth they have brought to my life.
Because autism changed me, it changed GC, it changed us. The Roc is the Roc, has been, always will be. Autism is a part of who he is. But I had never considered it, didn’t know what it was until I was blindsided.
I’ve changed, for the better. I’ve had to adjust my vision, but not as much as I first thought. I felt splintered apart by the diagnosis, and slowly, slowly I’m finding out that I have not actually shattered, I’m much stronger than I thought. I’m tough, I’ve had to be. I fought through the early trauma, the beginnings of finding my feet, gaining the tools and my voice. I found a good friend, made a couple more as time went by, let go of those who did not care enough to care, knowing that was okay to. I fought through horrid tantrums, sighs and disapproving looks from strangers, the anxiety, the fear, the depression. Learned to say “No” and when to say “Yes.” Learned to advocate, to question, nudge and push. Learned to truly cherish what is important in life and let go of the rest. I am a different kind of mother than I envisioned as I held newborn Roc 6+ years ago.
For all of that I am grateful.
GC and I have changed together. We are unified in our desire to help the Roc thrive and achieve, as many parents are, but our focus has solely shifted from what many other parents view as achievement. We work hard and we celebrate the little things. We are the only ones who truly see how far the Roc has come and we are the ones to help him go further. Our job is harder than most and we’re doing it together. There is no way we could have ever become this close without the struggle we have pushed through. After a disastrous exit from a gathering of friends in New Jersey on Saturday we held hands while the Roc tantrumed it out in the backseat for the first 25+ minutes of our hour long drive back home. United in the fight to teach appropriate behavior/modify the ugly I squeezed his hand. We have changed. From the man who said he would never move to Minnesota, he’s stoked about it now (and hopes to acquire the accent.) He has changed. I am a lucky girl.
For him I am grateful. For us I am grateful.
The Roc. Oh, the Roc! The changes in the Roc continue to amaze me. My boy who would shriek and scream before original speech can now tell me what he wants and needs, and more! He asks questions! We have little conversations! He PLAYS! I’ve waited so long for him to play for even just a little while, and just recently he started. He will build things out of blocks upstairs, play with his construction vehicles, make a mess! Finally he likes to draw! He gave up his bath again last night so he could continue drawing. A huge change for my routine entrenched, water obsessed boy. He is a marvel, he works hard every day and he is changing all the time. He amazes me.
I am so eternally grateful for him.
We have big changes planned for our future. A move to be near my family. Changes that will be hard, hard to leave the only home the Roc has ever had, the safety of what is known and the few truly good friends we’ve made here. Changes that will be so good, to be near family who unconditionally love us, all three of us, and want to be a part of our lives. Friends I’ve had for 15+ years who are ready with open arms. We will roll with the changes, plan and prep, and do what needs to be done.
And I am so grateful.
Change is good.