Sometimes it’s so hard that I can’t even catch my breath or believe it’s happening.

A few weeks ago, I was talking to a mom whose second son has autism. As we spoke, I asked her when she realized he had autism. Her words follow… “I’d already had my first son, so this time I wasn’t a new mom. With the second one , he was just a tiny infant and I knew. His eyes weren’t bright like my other, they were dull and there wasn’t a sparkle. I remember talking to my mom on phone early on and she thought I was crazy, he was only a tiny infant. I was his mom though and I knew it.”

When my second child came into the world, I knew within a few hours that this child wasn’t going to be easy. There was something different. In my gut I knew it and quite frankly , I was terrified. So I spent a lot of time praying and trying to convince myself that I was wrong. I was her mom though and that feeling has never gone away. What I can say is that as an outsider looking in, you wouldn’t see the challenge. Maybe my friends from early years did, like that church nursery worker she bit right on her butt to get what she wanted. Or the bratty boy from her two year old class that was pushing every one around so she bonked him across the face with the toy hair brush.

Now though there are days and sometimes even a whole week or two that it seems like the challenges are a thing of the past. That’s when it happens, she digs her heels in about something so meaningless to us all, but so life or death to her. Today it came down to a battle of the wills to the point of humiliation and embarrassment, but she wasn’t going to win. So her poor brother and I struggled through it till she broke and we all went back to enjoying our day. Those moments , I feel like a complete failure. Part of me knows that from the first day of her life, I knew that this was a predisposition yet the other part of me feels like I am just not a good enough mom.

I share it, because I know I am not alone and realistically my struggles with a strong willed little girl pale in comparison to the real struggles many families are experiencing. I am here to say, it’s not you and I understand that you are trying. While most of my moments are spent with a delightful easy going child, it’s always with me that things can turn in an instance. I’ve know it every day for 8 1/2 years and I have know realized that with her I will know it forever. I pray that she uses this power of hers for good in this world, because she certainly has the potential for greatness!


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