To begin with, I’m not feeling particularly witty today, so I apologize in advance if this post is a little bland.
Every once in a while, we’ll have a little spurt of good days as far as Michael goes. This past week was a good week in our world. Michael received his first-ever award at school. It was a “BUG” award which stands for Bringing Up Grades. Michael was awarded one of these for Improvement in Following Directions. No, it wasn’t for getting an “A” up from a “C” in long division, but you know what? We’ll take it. In our corner of the universe, that is what we live for. When I arrived at the awards ceremony, it was a little intimidating. All of these parents arriving to see their fourth grade students being honored for straight A’s and B’s in all their academic subjects. Michael came into the cafeteria with a teacher’s aide who directed him across the stage and the principal and assistant principal shook his hands as he carried his certificate across the stage. Was he proud of himself? To be honest, I think he had only one thing on his brain………the bag of Cheez-Its the teacher’s aide brought for him. Hey…..whatever works, right? I was a proud momma, though. To hear the cafeteria clapping when his name was called, just like he was a regular student receiving an award was a nice feeling. There were no stares, no comments, no pitiful “Awwwwww” sounds. It felt GOOD. And all the other kids and parents in that cafeteria were part of typical fourth grade classes.
Today, Michael had a dentist appointment. Let me tell you something………”dentist” strikes fear into the hearts of many parents of typical kids. Now, multiply that times about a hundred million and that’s how parents of autistic children feel about taking their child to the dentist. And that’s how it used to be for me. We have the B-E-S-T pediatric dentist in the world. She is FABULOUS with children with special needs as is her entire staff. In order to keep Michael from darting out of the chair, kicking, or swatting at the instruments, he has to lay in a gigantic “papoose”, where he is swaddled from the neck down in a velcro-fastening contraption. He doesn’t really mind it…………anymore. The first few times we took him there, between ages 4 and about 7, it was, uh, not fun. Even with this huge contraption around him, I would have to lay ON TOP of him to keep him from turning into a gigantic caterpillar and thrusting himself off the chair. Nowadays, he still uses the papoose, but the crying and whining is pretty much a thing of the past. Today, when he was all wrapped up and the hygienist started to clean, he did start to whine, but for a totally different reason. He wanted to be able to “dance” because he heard “Moves Like Jagger” on the radio in the office! Then later on, Katy Perry came on and the whining started again. The hygienist actually went ahead and stopped the cleaning for a moment so he could waggle back and forth to the music. Once he got that out of his system, she was able to finish. Christopher and I had a good chuckle about all of that!
In the midst of my writing this blog, my friend/fellow blogger/autism comrade called me to tell me about some of the middle schools she visited, as her son (who is Michael’s classmate) will be leaving elementary school next year. I was so thrilled to hear that she found a couple of them to be excellent programs, and that she absolutely loved one and feels it’s the right fit for her son. I am sincerely hoping that I have that same experience when it’s my turn next year.
Soccer Buddies wrapped up this weekend for Michael and I have to say that I will really miss it. It was such a welcoming place to be and I so loved sitting on that field in the beautiful South Florida weather we’ve been having and commiserating with my little group of moms. I recently read a post on another autism mom’s blog that talked about all the positive things that being a special needs’ parent brings. There was an item on that list that said:
You will connect with people and form friendships based upon your shared experience in raising special needs children. These are amazing people whose hearts and minds have been tempered by this life-altering journey. Flappiness Is…….
I love that. Truer words were never said.
I remember back to the days when we first received Michael’s diagnosis. It felt like our world just fell apart. I read blogs and hear stories about people who are where we were 6 years ago. No, life didn’t exactly deal us a fair hand. No, life is definitely not easy or what you thought raising children was supposed to be like. But you do find somewhat of a niche after a while. There are days where you cry and scream and STILL ask “Why MY child?”. But sometimes you get a break. And those little breaks are the times that keep you going.