My eyelids are heavy and my eye is twitching from exhaustion. I am coming down with a cold that I am sure is a result of stress and lack of sleep. Vacation is such an exciting and special thing, I am so thankful that I am able to take one at all considering many aren’t able to. The things we have been doing and the amazing friends and family we have seen during this trip already has made my heart so happy. I love talking to people about our visit and catching up, so many people I have been missing. I have received so much positivity on not only Brody and his journey but my health/fitness progression as well which is so appreciated. It is so flattering to know that people are truly paying attention and care about the daily things going on in your life, especially living 8 hours away and seeing them once a year if I’m lucky. The outpouring of support I have gotten for Brody and just the love I hear in everyones voices while talking about him just leaves me baffled. He is so lucky to have such a cheerleading team behind him, only wanting the best and success in his life. I just wanted to take a minute to say thank you, even little comments and conversations mean more then you will ever know. Your positivity and encouragement give me strength on some days where I am struggling and feeling low.
So now for some real talk. So many people follow up our conversations with something along the lines of “enjoy your vacation, you’re lucky to get time off” or something like that. The thing I’ve learned and come to understand about vacations and time off is that while my day to day activities are different and a lot more fun, there is no vacation from autism. Brody has been great and truly have never seen him as happy as he has been. The thing is with the highest highs comes some low lows. His temper tantrums have been so out of control, his anger and hitting/ kicking is to the point where it is leaving a bruise and his attention span is nonexistent. I love my child through it all of course but as I’m typing this I am a zombie of exhaustion mentally and physically. In between typing this I have probably peeled about 12 crayons and have been redirecting to coloring to avoid a meltdown. None of the things that normally make Brody happy or calm is working today and I am left confused on how to even handle him. I am not sure if he is on sensory overload and just coping with the change of scenery since I am at my moms house now for a while but it is strange to watch his behavior. Donuts are always a go to for a happy kid but instead he sat at the table with ten munchkins in front of him, staring into space with glazed eyes for ten minutes. He didn’t touch a single one and my mom and I watched him, trying to figure out what was going on. I know I have heard and read about kids having seizers where they stop everything and look up and stare off into “space”. I will tell you, one of the hardest things to swallow as Brodys mom is knowing something is off with him, asking whats wrong and trying to figure it out with no response. Times like this I would love to point out to those who tell me I’m lucky he doesn’t talk because “once he starts talking, he won’t stop”. In moments like this I can actually feel my heart ache from not getting a response, I would do anything to hear whats going on in his mind and help him with whatever he is sorting out.
Now that I have gotten through the autism and sensory specific things I am going to voice something that has irritated me since Brodys diagnosis. I find that I often see “autism parents” saying things like we aren’t just parents, we are “autism parents” or other things indicating we have it so much harder. Ive already blogged about my feelings on the reference of “autism parent”. I could go on about some of the hypocritical posts I’ve seen about wanting to be included but then putting themselves in a category above “typical parents ” but that could be its own blog post for a later day. I am here to say that a parent is a parent and you all have my respect so long as you are actually parenting your child. I also want to say that the same associated with looking on the outside as you do on the inside needs to fall away. Parenting is hard you guys, give yourself some credit. I say this as I am in leggings, a baggy hoodie with a ponytail in and makeup from yesterday looking like a mess. The bags under my eyes are huge and heavy but this morning I threw on some shades and headed out the door to the park. The thing is that I knew Brody typically likes to play on the playground and I was desperate to make him happy because of the off mood he was in. Once we got to the playground he started to stare into space again like at breakfast and had no care for the jungle gym in front of him. My mom and I took a video because of the off behavior and watched him closely. He still didn’t care about it so instead it took off his shoes and brought him to his favorite field. As I’ve already stated several times I am exhausted but Brody can not pass up a chance to run freely and chase me around. I took off, “ready, set” followed off by the smallest and cutest “go!” you’ve ever heard. I ran around and around, he was smiling and enjoying himself and that made it worth it to me. Even if he was only happy for a minute, knowing that I did what i could to make him happy is worth it to me to see that crooked grin.
Basically I am just trying to get across that a parent is never truly on vacation but I admire those that still bend over backwards and go to any length to make your child happy. Personally, I feel pride in myself that i know I am the parent I’ve hoped to be and am not ashamed to sound like i am boasting about it because its an accomplishment that is far from easy. I am glad I am getting to the point where I am realizing that its ok to not always look your best (my fashion merchandising background had brain washed me into this though process) as long as you are comfortable and happy. There is no shame in these dark circles under my eyes because I got them through long and exhausting hours caring for Brody. I am coming around to self acceptance in a different way then I have ever known in my 27 years on earth. I hope someone took something away from this post, although I had a lot of thoughts on my mind as I wrote this. Hope you were able to follow along somewhat. I just want you, you exhausted parent, to take your hand and pat yourself on the back because you’re awesome and sometimes we don’t hear it enough verbally.
I’ll end this post saying that my sweet baby put himself to sleep on the couch as I typed this ten minutes ago and is looking so sweet. I am glad his mind is at rest and am hoping he wakes up feeling less anxiety and stress. I am going to join him now so I can stop being a mom zombie and function since I am surrounded by my amazing family right now.