Letter To New Autism Mom # 8: We Need Eachother

Letter 8

Dear New Autism Mom,

The other day I was messaging with a friend about the struggles we have raising our "spectrummy" kids. Her son is younger than mine so dealing with obtaining a correct diagnosis and a reasonable IEP are big issues for her.

I love sharing with her the things we learned when we were in that stage. It makes what we endured worth it because it is helping her and her family now.

Dealing with unusual and hard-to-believable behavior from our children is a problem we both are dealing with most of the time. And you know what? It helps to know that there is someone out there who understands even a little bit of what we're going through.  

It is a tremendous help to know you will be believed when you tell your story of what is going on at your home. 

It is a huge help to know that the person listening to you isn't going to judge you or your actions in dealing with your child.

It isn't true for everyone you meet--that they will "get" you and not judge your parenting decisions. But when you do find those people--do not let go of them!  They are gifts from God.

Seek those people out,  search for them. You need them and they need you

We weren't meant to do this alone. And alone is exactly how it feels if we (especially special-needs parents) aren't intentional about reaching out and making connections. Isolation is easy, and sometimes (oftentimes) forced upon us-- like it or not. 

If you are isolated and stuck in loneliness--unable to find your voice to connect with others, if you are trapped in the pain of a newly diagnosed child, then you need a friend like this most of all. 

Sometimes friends offer advice that is not good for us or our children. When they do (even though out of the goodness of their heart and desire to help in some way) we can feel even further apart from them than we did before. Oceans suddenly appear between us and it's easy to feel like no one gets it.

It's easy to think we are all alone in this struggle with our kids but that is not true. You just need to keep searching for "those" friends. You will find them. They are out there waiting to find you too!

When I was in Kindergarten, I remember feeling like I didn't have any friends in my class. You know what helped?  This simple advice:  Ask someone you would like to play with, "Will you be my friend?" 

Sometimes, the advice we need is so simple it slips by unnoticed.  So if you are looking for a friend who will join you in this parenting thing, here is my simple advice for you:  Be that friend to someone else. Then ask them, "Will you be my friend?"

 

 

 

 

First Friends

First Friends

"Mommy look! We're friends!" 2-year old Joy calls to me with sparkling eyes that ignite anticipation in the onlooking siblings, as she marvels at a simple interaction with her brother.

Dressed to the nines, with a fluffy, pink polkadot skirt and a pink shirt that paired with her head,  completes a gingerbread girl, she stands on the couch with Stevie, arms out in anticipation of holding his hands and twirling a round of "ring around the rosies".

He reaches for her and her eyes widen so large they overtake her tiny body.  She loves her big brother with a big-love.

"We're friends!" the beautiful words ring in my ears.  I feel it clear to my feet.  My heart leaps high and then rushes forth creating an ocean mixed with the vibrant colors of excitement, love, and pride.

Friends.

Stevie has his first friend, someone who follows him around,  chases him, imitates him, desires to hang out with him, and absolutely adores him. She talks about him in her sleep and can't wait for him to come home from school.

When Stevie enters the house, the first thing he does is shed his clothing. One piece at a time they fall behind him as he walks toward his room.  As if on cue, Joy traces his steps and scrunches up his pants on her tiny legs. She puts his big-kid shoes on her toddler feet; his shirt on her body like a casual dress. She puts on every bit of "Stevie droppings" that she can and looks up at us with pride.

She wants to be just like him.

Even though he doesn't give her much attention, it doesn't slow her down. When he shifts his attention toward her, she feels prized and it spurs her on. 

Joy loves Stevie to pieces.  She knows it is an honor when he breaks from his script to include her in it, or better yet, when he takes her up on the offer to let him into her world.

She loves him, and everything about him.  Her curiosity about him drives her to push his buttons in effort to engage with him, and she gets farther than the rest of us.

Being absolutely adored, is something that Stevie is soaking up; he seems to enjoy it in his hard-to-get ways.

What a great reminder of God's absolute adoration of us, and his desire for us to adore him in return. He pushes our buttons to stretch us, and he may irritate us to engage us. He will go to extremes to get to know us, just like Joy does with Stevie.  He has great pride in us imitating Him, and following Him around--going where He goes.

John 15:14-16  You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.  You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit--fruit that will last--and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.

A final thought: Many times I have wondered if Stevie will ever make a real friend--as in having a back and forth relationship where both people enjoy each others company.  Little did I know his first true friend would be living in the same house. The best of friends: siblings.  God always provides.