Today was a day I refer to as a "breakthrough" day. It's one of those days when things that you've been working on just click, and for a moment in time you see all fruits of all the labor you've put into being a parent of a child with special needs. With kids on the spectrum, you can work for months on a goal, and sometimes lose faith that it will ever be accomplished (take potty training for example). But one thing I've learned as a mom with a kid on the spectrum, they'll surprise you when you least expect it! Now - I will say, for parents reading this whose children don't have special needs - these accomplishments may sound quite boring. But trust me when I saw today was a "breakthrough" day!
We woke up this morning to head to church and it was the normal chaos. I was a little nervous because I bought JD some new pants last night since we had a cold front come through, and I wasn't sure how he'd transition from shorts to new pants, but luckily no problem. Then right before we left, I asked the kids if I could take a picture of them all together and by a miracle, I got the shot above. This is the BEST picture I've ever taken of all three kids together. Normally JD is staring off into space or yelling because he doesn't want to say cheese. But in this moment in time, he was so happy to hug his big sis and grin ear to ear... I knew right then this was a special day.
Then after church we went to lunch. We normally go to a place called Joe's Crab Shack because they have an outside playground and I with the cool weather finally rolling in I figured the kids would like it. Normally it's complete and utter chaos when we go out to lunch. Not only do my kids run around like crazy children, but we spend a good $50 on food that no one eats. Mostly chicken fingers and go untouched and let's just say mommy doesn't go home a happy camper. But today we went and it was peaceful. With only one minor spill of a drink (which was even cute because JD said, "My mommy, I'm so sorry") we went on without a hitch. Everyone ate, no one fought. We didn't have to leave early. Awesome moment #2!
Then it came down to really the highlight of the day. In our neighborhood, we celebrated Halloween early with a big party. For the past two years, I have bought costumes for JD and not ONCE has he let me put them on him. He cried and says they're "too dangerous" lol. But this year was different. He knew exactly what he wanted to be - Batman - and LOVED putting on his costume. I sat there completely shocked as he let Jason put his mask and cape on him. It was like having a different child from last year. I figured it would only last a few minutes so I snapped (another!) good picture... (this is too good to be true!) but he kept it on for almost two hours, walking all through the neighborhood trick-or-treating with the other kids! It was amazing to watch him run up to our neighbors and say "trick or treat" and get the candy. It was like his first real halloween where he actually got it. I was so excited!
Then to top things off - as if the day couldn't get any better - he asked TWICE today "mommy/daddy, I have to go pee-pee." All by himself!!!!!!!! That is a huge deal for us! What a big boy! I'm soooo proud.
I can't say that our days are easy - just read my last post - but I can say that there's something about having a child with special needs that just changes you and makes you a better person. Seeing him become more and more independent makes me realize that all the work we do, day-in and day-out, is working will make his life a better one. We're just really blessed to have the family, friends, church, neighbors and coworkers who have stood by us during this journey. We love you guys!