Talk about a roller coaster of a year.
The year started with the unexpected death of my mother-in-law. It’s hard to believe she’s been gone almost a year. Even though we did not have a warm and fuzzy relationship, she loved her grandsons, and I’m sad she did not have the opportunity to meet our youngest.
We also said goodbye to our 13-year-old greyhound, which started a dark time for our oldest. I don’t really know if it was Bo’s absence, since Thing 1 cannot verbalize how he feels or hurts yet, but he used Bo for a lot of sensory needs. He liked to lay on the dog, listen to Bo breathing. When he stopped getting that input, it started a summer of nonstop emotional meltdown and self-injury, screaming, crying, and breaking toys and furniture. The cherry on top: he was about to age out of Virginia’s insurance law that requires health insurance companies cover autism behavior therapy, specifically ABA. We were facing this massive hurdle, and at the stroke of midnight on M’s 7th birthday, his services turned into a pumpkin and mice. As parents, it was heartbreaking to be unable to understand what was wrong or how to fix it until finally, something clicked, and Matthew came out of the fog.
In that same stretch of summer, our second child was diagnosed with Autism. Going through the evaluation process again, hearing the same outcome…talk about a sucker punch. At least we could form an action plan quickly, with a been-there-done-that bravado.
But this is how I really feel…
Fuck Autism. And fuck this year of Autism.
No one asks to be in this club, but we will move mountains to get my kids the services they need and deserve. This is life, and you have to play the hand you’re dealt. Although sometimes I’d like to punch that dealer in the face.
The best thing about 2014 is Thing 3. We had a baby in April, and he is amazing! I love everything about him. I love how much he adores his brothers. I love how quickly he learns new things. I love his babbles. He brings so much joy and enthusiasm to our home.
Despite the oldest’s tough summer, he now skips and hops through life, gives hugs, and uses more language. Our wild middle child is thriving at school. The baby is happy and healthy. And my husband and I swear and snark way too much…but we swear and snark together. I’m thankful for the friendships we made this year with other parents of special needs children, where we can talk about melatonin, our children streaking, and poop without raising eyebrows. We call them “our people.”
My hopes for 2015…
I hope Thing 1 and Thing 2 continue to grow their language skills. I love hearing their voices use words, sing songs, and recite their favorite television episodes.
I am thankful my husband has a job that pays the bills, but I hope he finds work that satisfies him intellectually and emotionally. He’s a smart, hard worker who should be appreciated more.
I can’t wait to see the baby boy take his first steps.
I hope my local School Board members pull their heads out of their asses for a few minutes. Just let me teach!
I hope anyone reading this blog writes their Virginia General Assembly representatives (find yours here), telling them to raise the age cap on Virginia Code Section 38.2-3418.17 so children beyond the age of six have easier access to ABA.
Whether moving up, down, sideways, or upside down, I hope you have someone sitting beside you on the roller coaster.
Happy New Year!!