Reflections

So many things have changed since Serafina’s symptoms of autism has really come out and she was diagnosed with autism at nearly three years old (only seven months ago).

Today I cleaned up a poopy room for the third time in two days. I have been trying to get her to keep clothes on, instead of wearing backwards sleepers, but any time she goes in her room and we let her keep her clothes on or forget to tie up one of her sleepers, she strips naked and poops on the bed or floor and smears it all over herself and her room. It has been really challenging.

Tonight I gave her a bath again, this time I didn’t cry. Yesterday I did.

It is hard when all you want to do is read a story to your other children and give them a wee bit of attention in the day, even though you are exhausted and you have to get up and clean up a disaster again. You have to watch your other children see you fight to hold back your sadness and be a strong woman and role model.

I never imagined life would ever be this hard. When I imagined growing up, getting married, having kids, and homeschooling, I knew that it would have its challenges, but I never imagined anything like this. The fighting to do what you know is right for your children. The fighting to be a good example. The providing a clean home and home cooked meals. All of that was so easy to me before Serafina’s autism was thrown in the midst of it. Our picture-perfect life somehow went down the tubes and I feel myself questioning so many things sometimes. Mostly, it is a balance of fighting for and sticking to what I believe in and wondering what needs to change or what I need to let go of.

I am a strong woman. I have always been super patient. Both Craig and I are very relaxed parents and would never think to raise our voices or our hands to our kids. We believe in the power of our thoughts and our actions and we live life day and night to be the best parents (and people) that we can be, though it can be oh, so hard. It is hard for me to deal with it all day and night, and even though he wouldn’t say a thing, I know it must be hard for him to have to work and then come home to either help take care of Serafina, or listen to how hard my day was. I wonder at how he can be so strong for us all, and at the same time, I hate myself for worrying if he is really dissatisfied in this situation and in our marriage. I worry that we won’t make it through this together. This is one tough battle, and I have been through a lot in my young years.

What is the hardest for me is knowing how hard it is for my girls. Having to constantly ask them to help out, pass something, or watch Serafina. It is literally at least a two person job to watch Serafina. She is fast and curious and can get into trouble in a matter of seconds. What is hardest for me is knowing that they must secretly resent having autism in our family at times. Although they never show it, I can sense it intuitively. When Serafina is throwing a fit and Kesa goes quiet, or when I ask Autumn to help me out for the millionth time.

Tonight Autumn admitted it and said (not in a rude way, but in all honesty), after watching me clean up another poop disaster, “Sometimes I wish that Serafina was never born.” I asked her more about it and she said that life was easier when it was just her and Kesa. It is true and she knows it. I told her though how powerful our thoughts are and that we must never think that. I told her that if Serafina left us tomorrow it wouldn’t be what she really wanted.

I never want my girls to feel this way or have these ideas in their head and so I try as best I can to never think or say anything like that. I try to never feel or show that taking care of Serafina is ever a burden. Even when I am wiping down her room and running the bath for the millionth time, I try to add humor to it, or see the bright side, sing a song, or just look at my beautiful angel. I love my little girl and never want these more trying moments and tests of faith and character make me forget about all of the wonderful things about her and how much progress she is making daily.

A few days ago Serafina actually did the “more” sign in sign language. This is something that we have been working on (albeit not always consistently) with Serafina for months. She finally did the sign for “more” in her room with me while I was tickling her and I was in disbelief. I honestly wasn’t really sure that she would ever sign and sometimes I do wonder just how much she understands. She did it again the next day and has been doing it a few times a day the past few days.

I hate that too. I hate when I doubt or don’t believe. I hate my lack of faith in this situation when it wants to creep up, but I know that these are huge learning curves and big time spiritual lessons in the power of thoughts, energy, prayer, faith, and positivity. I try. Boy, do I ever try.

These days have been so hard for me too as I struggle with what to write anymore. I don’t really know who I am right now, or what I want to write about. I struggle with wanting to share recipes and positive stuff (although this is what I love) because I don’t really have time and sometimes I just prefer to write like this, what is really going on and how I feel. Even if it is not positive and uplifting, it is my reality and it feels good to just type it out and let it go out of my head, into words and in writing for me to stare back at; to admit how I really feel instead of being so damn strong and brave all of the time. (I am human too.) I also hope that in writing about some of our reality with autism that some other parents and families out there could know that they are not alone.

I have been trying really hard with Serafina these days. I have been trying to do her hair and get her dressed (which are huge accomplishments with her). This is also hard for me and something I don’t even attempt to do sometimes because it is just easier to not make extra work and hardship, but I want my daughter to grow up and be as “normal” as possible. At least I want her to have her hair brushed and be able to wear some clothes.

Tonight I let her walk instead of pushing her in the stroller. And she doesn’t walk, she runs. She was overjoyed as she ran like mad blocks away from our house, me trying to keep pace beside her. She went all the way to town to the grocery store and explored a little. (Something she never really gets to do.) It is easier when one of us stays home with her, or she stays in the car seat if we have to take a trip into the city, but I hate that! I hate having her be left out of so many family things, even going walking, because it is easier for us if she is restrained in her stroller, her car seat, or a shopping cart. I know that she is going to have to walk on her own sometime and I want her to learn. I want to believe that she can do these things and I want Craig to believe alongside with me.

One other thing that has been heavy on my heart is the fact that my girls are growing up. I know that it is time to put the stroller away soon because Serafina is getting too big for it. Even Kesa still hitches a ride on it and it is getting ridiculous (she is going to be seven this June). It is hard. I don’t want to let go of my babies. I am not ready yet.

Craig and I were planning for one more child someday, but sometimes this all seems too much. Thinking now that I may be done having children is also something that is hard to swallow. Another part of my life’s dream is being pulled from underneath me. I wanted this. I wanted to be a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom. I wanted to blog about our happy, relaxed days together, living, learning, loving, and eating. I had a picture of what it was going to be like and I even had it manifested as my reality, but now things are different. I know that it is still up to me to see the good and to create the life that I imagine, but it is a million times more difficult to see the good and stay conscious in the trying times (which are at least 50% of the time). I know this, but I also still know that it is possible for things to be great and life to always be beautiful, if only I could stay conscious of all that we have to be grateful for, the progress we make daily, and the love that knits us together as a family.

So should I be sad because my daughter can’t talk and is sometimes a burden for our family? Should that make me want to crawl into a depression and wish she was never born? Never! I hate when people pity me and try to give me helpful suggestions. It is hard. I know people mean well, but it also puts a huge damper on my positive outlook. When people start asking about how hard it must be, or point out difficulties I am likely to encounter in the future, it drains away all of my faith and positivity. At least it tries to. It is not like I don’t know those things already and live and breathe them every day. It doesn’t help when people throw a worry-wrench into my life.

So these are my reflections for the night. I just felt like I had to type. Tonight I go to bed grateful for our family and how hard each one of us works to keep it happy and harmonious. The poopy mess is cleaned up and the girls are playing nicely together. My husband is on his way home from work early and tomorrow we begin our weekend together.

tiffany6

13 thoughts on “Reflections

  1. So many things I’d like to say. I’ll try and keep this short.
    I have 2 boys with undiagnosed autism, because honestly, I fear society and government. That said, my oldest boy has a lot fall to his shoulders. A lot. I feel like I’m always asking things of him. Will you please help E. Will you get this. Will you run and do that for me. Yes, at times, I feel like a burden to him. Yes, there are times he comes to me and his brother has worn him down, and he’s exhausted and just wants “normal ” brothers, whatever that is.
    Yet he’s a very spiritual young man, and is seriously contemplating the Priesthood. He’s talked about it for a long time. His role as big brother, as he serves his family in the only ways he knows how, is preparing him to be a wonderful man one day. He sees mom exhausted and at witts end, and the next thing I know – he’s bringing me tea. Or offering to keep an eye on his brothers so I can shower.
    so, yes acknowledge Their feelings, but don’t pity them. My son is learning from this just as much as I am.
    second, we all need to vent. I have certain friends I turn to for different things. One friend I can turn to about autism, as her daughter is too. One friend, I can talk to about food or family issues. We all need an outlet. This is your chosen outlet. Embrace that.

    I’m not going to pity you. But I will stand by and support you. God gave you Serafina for a reason. I’m positive you know that already. Just like I’ve been given E and Percy. Are they as extreme as Serafina? No. But they are just as unique.
    Wear that badge of motherhood with pride. I do!
    Every tear I wipe. Every overflowing diaper of a nearly 5 year old boy. This is my life. This IS what I do. Is it how I pictured it? Nope. I was blessed in ways I don’t understand yet.
    I will keep reading. If you keep writing.

    Warmly,
    Jill

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    • So many things I would love for you to say! I enjoy connecting with you Jill! Would be neat if we lived closer and could chat. I am grateful for your support and encouragement. I know life is not always like that, but there are times and it helps to write about it to get past it. Writing for me is definitely my outlet for so many things. It always helps me to find my center again and when people come and comment here, it also helps me feel that I am not alone and helps others out there to know that they are not alone too.

      Much love to you and your family! ❤

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  2. Touched by this post. I could imagine how it would be 😌. Stay positive dear friend. You are a very strong woman. Hardships are a part of life. I am sure you and your lovely family will get through this phase. Pray to Him to give you the strength.

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    • Thank you Ritu! After writing this out, there was a definite shift in the energy of our home and a great peace of mind for me. I know that releasing the frustration helped and I also know that others reading, sympathizing, relating, or thinking positive thoughts or prayers for us made that difference. Love to you and yours! ❤

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  3. I will begin by saying you are a good Mom! I hereby send you a hug and remind you that we all wish we had a handbook when we delivered our babies! Parenting is hard, nobody is ever ready for it, but it is also a blessing.
    I am a mom of three, I had to deal with issues at home, and I am also a teacher to hundreds. I have worked with several autistic children in my path and I know it is a full-time job to keep your zen. However, four things have always proven to smooth out the path with my little sweethearts: a printed schedule, music, art and physical movement. Routine, routine, routine.
    I am not an expert, and I am simply sharing this as my way of sending you a hug. I would print out a schedule with pictures of the activity (snack, naptime, read a book, playdough, etc) and would have to follow the exact same routine every day. At first, it was a challenge-especially with other typical students to tend to, but routine was very important to each of my special students, and I believed in the process. If a student liked to color pictures of Buzz Lightyear, I would pre-print 20 sheets, to be ready! Nowadays, everyone is into Elsa and Anna, so that might help!

    Music was my saving grace with them. I would include that in the schedule as a special part of the day when my students would use instruments, scarves, or simply dance around to instrumental music. Having a rainstick was so helpful! Oftentimes, children in the spectrum are incredibly talented musically. I had students who memorized lyrics, learned to play piano by ear, and used rhythm sticks to the beat without being directly taught. I almost could not believe their paintings! I would place a picture by an artist next to the easel and just watch them unfold into greatness. Their eyes see what typical eyes cannot. It is a gift.

    I wish you the best. Reach out for help, reprogram your brain to positive thoughts because you love your children and you are a great mom.When you see your little angel, see her as a ballerina, a maestro, an opera singer, a Monet, and try to give her the tools to bring forth that amazing talent she has.

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    • Thank you so much for your comment! I agree with those four things! I know Serafina loves music and I try so hard to keep a rhythm in our home, even if Craig’s shifts are constantly changing. I really think that our slower, more relaxed pace is beneficial to the girls. I think that sometimes Autumn thinks the grass is greener, or doesn’t appreciate the simple life that we lead. There are so many things we are blessed with and rich in, but at this age, she dreams of becoming rich. She will grow more understanding of simple blessings once she ages.

      I have been wanting to try paint with Serafina too, so I am going to research some natural recipes for paint, or just use berries (which she loves) because she still puts everything in her mouth.

      Thank you for the comment “hug”, I appreciate you taking the time to share. ❤

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