In exactly 7 days; a new and scary chapter starts for our family. My son, with special needs will be going to Florida for college. I find myself crying in the strangest places; when I hear a certain song, while taking my evening walk and especially when I look at my boy.
Tears of joy honored to be his mother.
Tears of terror for the opening of the next chapter.
Tears of panic: is this the place for him?
Austin will be attending Lynn University; 1000s of miles from home and although he has been away from home for 4 years, I am scared sh*tless.
Yet, despite the swirling emotions I am so incredibly grateful because:
- I am blessed to parent a special needs child. Being Austin’s mother taught me patience and acceptance.
- I learned how to advocate not only for him but for myself, my daughter and my husband.
- I learned that living my life for my children would only hurt them.
- I made mistakes and I am open to learning from them.
- I allowed my daughter to create her own relationship with my son.
My son has autism and although he is extremely high functioning; he will always need support. He has defied the odds and I couldn’t be prouder.
No one can understand the emotions that a family feels when they hear that diagnosis.
The child that you dreamed of meeting during pregnancy isn’t who you thought.
The grief must be addressed along with the guilt, anger, denial, shame and finally acceptance.
I would play my pregnancy over and over in my head: Were my baths too hot? Did I do too much? Did I gain too much weight?
When Austin was diagnosed in 1996; the statistics were 1 in 500. Today the number of kids being diagnosed on the autism spectrum is 1 in 88!
When Austin was diagnosed; I had never heard about this new tool called “the internet”
Even today with our virtual superhighway, I find few recourses that are dedicated to these “special women.” Maybe a blog post here or there stating “you must take care of yourself.”
Yet, who is helping these VPM (very precious mothers) work through emotions, stay healthy and give themselves precious time to renew and recharge?
These Very Precious Mothers require time to take care of themselves because when they do; their children will thrive! GUARANTEED!
That is why I have created a special little corner where you can park and know that you are not alone. I have traveled this highway and will continue traveling it with you.
I have made plenty of mistakes and am not shy about sharing them.
As you can see; I know the pain, the grief, the anger and the resentment. I have blamed myself, blamed God and blamed “the establishment.”
I know what it is like to watch you child be left out of birthday parties.
I know what it is like to fight the world for your child.
I know what it is like to know that you child needs an essential therapy that can’t be paid for.
I know how it feels to get sick, fat and lack energy because all your energy goes to everyone else.
Dear VPM: it is time to take care of yourself so that your child can thrive. The better you feel the better your child’s progress.
So, if you won’t do it for yourself, do it for them.
Not sure where to start? I don’t believe that.
Take a deep breath, close your eyes and ask yourself: What do I need right now?
Then leave that action in the comment section and I will hold that space for you.