I know that "normal" is only a setting a on dryer, but sometimes I wish that my life was just that... a little more normal. When you have a child with special needs your life is turned upside down. Sometimes, on bad days, you feel like you're living in a prison. You can't do things that other people can do, you can't go places other people go. It can be very lonely because you feel like no one else can understand what you're going through.
The past two months have been very emotional for me. JD started kindergarten at First Hope and while I'm so excited he's finally started his journey there, it also makes me realize that his autism is for life. I drop him off everyday with kids his age as well as those that are much older than him and it's hard. It makes me think about the future and stress about where he'll go in life. When he was first diagnosed I always felt that we could do enough therapy to make it go away, it was kind of my mission, and lately I've realized it just doesn't go away. I'm reminded of that daily and it makes me sad and worried and then back to sad.
Sadness quickly turns to jealousy. And I'll admit it - I'm jealous of everyone else having a normal life. I'm jealous of my friends who can go out to eat with their spouses because they either don't have kids or have no problem finding a babysitter because their kids are "normal". I'm jealous of the money they save by not having to pay for therapy, special schools, doctor appointments, etc. I'm jealous because I had to go back to work after being a stay-at-home mom to pay for all of those things. I'm jealous of my friends having fun on the weekends when I'm stuck at home, a prisoner of JD's routine. I'm just jealous... I wish I wasn't but I am. Some days I can deal with it, others I can't. I wish people knew that.
But then there are moments like today, when I picked up JD from school and he turned and said to me, "Mommy, I always love you." Those moments make me realize that I'm just being selfish. I love him more than words can explain, more than going out to eat in peace, more than going shopping with friends on the weekend, more than the money I could save by putting him a regular school... more than my desire a "normal" life.
Jealousy is a crappy thing. The grass is always greener on the other side. But sometimes my grass looks pretty green, I just forget to look at it long enough to appreciate it.
Thursday, August 15, 2013
One of the main reasons we chose First Hope was because of their inclusion program. Even though it's a special-need program, two days a week, JD is "mainstreamed" into a regular kindergarten class with his First Hope teacher by his side as an aide.
Today was his first day in his inclusion class and he was doing great at drop off. I'm so excited that First Hope has this practice in place - I think it will really give him a balance of what he needs: very small group instruction on M/W/F and inclusion on T/TH. Here are some pictures from the morning!
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
On May 5, 2010, I started this blog, Following JD's Journey, with my first post, "Our New Beginning." A month prior, in April of 2010, we learned that our 2-year-old son was diagnosed with Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder and Apraxia (speech delay). When you're a parent, and you hear those words, your life is turned upside down. You realize what you thought your life was going to be like is no longer the case, and your mind starts wandering all over the place trying to determine what your new life is going to be like. It's a scary place to be.
Fast forward three years, and JD is now 5 and a half. He's come so far, learned so much, and I am SO proud of him for everything he's accomplished. When he diagnosed he had 5 words, could hardly walk, was unable to jump, swing, slide, climb (all motor skill problems), hardly ate solid foods, and was OBSESSED with trains to the point that he would not interact with anyone, only play at his train table.
Three years of intense therapy (speech, occupational/sensory, behavior) and here we are. Today JD started KINDERGARTEN at First Hope, a special-needs program at The First Academy! There are few days when I sit back and think to myself - this is a perfect moment. But this morning, as JD proudly showed off his new uniform (complete with a Batman backpack!), and grinned from ear-to-ear with his big sister as we took "first day" pictures, I couldn't have been happier.
For the last three years, we've been working for THIS DAY. I've wanted him to go to First Hope since I stumbled upon their ad in the Bright Feats magazine shortly after his diagnosis. I truly believe that this is the best place for him. Small classrooms (there's only 4 kids in his class and 2 teachers!), inclusion with an aide two days a week in a regular kindergarten classroom, individual speech and occupational therapy for 45 minutes each day, and ongoing behavior and sensory support around the clock with teachers and staff who love their children and display the word of God in their teachings and actions every day!
Today is sort of another "New Beginning" because this is the beginning of the rest of his school life. First Hope and The First Academy are where we call home. Our entire family fits there - not just our two "regular" kids. Ashley was SO proud of her little brother today, walking him into his classroom and telling him not to worry. I am SO glad she will be there with him each step of the way, like siblings should be. And next year, when Kyle starts school at The First Academy, Ashley and JD can walk HIM in as his older siblings. We are ONE family and we do things TOGETHER!
On a closing note, I just want to say thank you to my husband, who has been my rock for the last 13 years. Jason isn't the dad who sits on the sidelines... just the opposite. He's right there next to me, fighting this fight against autism. Thank you boo :)
And thanks everyone for taking the time to read this. Each of you have played a significant role in JD's Journey. We appreciate your support, "likes" and kind words every day. Thank you!!