Expectations. The most dangerous things you can have as a parent. From the moment you find out you are pregnant, you begin building expectations. Your heart is full of love and mind full of hopes and dreams for the future. You imagine their first steps, their first words. You imagine play dates and fun outings. You imagine playing, talking and singing with your child. You imagine snuggling and cuddling and singing your baby to sleep.
After months of therapies that did nothing, our speech therapists said they I was doing everything right and there was absolutely nothing more they could do... Somewhere during this time I realized that my son really is Autistic. He doesn't just have speech and hearing delays. It's not just coincidence that he has so many of the signs. At some point, you just have to accept it. And I did. But I guess I just didn't really understand at that time what accepting it really meant.
I continued to think that eventually, with a lot of hard work, he would start talking and that would fix everything. If we could just get him to start talking, then everything would be fine. Then we could have a normal life and do normal things.
Normal. Another expectation. One that has come crashing down pretty hard on me. Those were all my expectations and having those expectations, has made my life more difficult. Because expectations are not reality.
Reality is that we will probably never have a "normal" life. Maybe in the future, the far away unforeseeable future, things will be more "normal", but that is not something I can expect or count on. Reality is that, at least for now, I cannot take my children for a walk to get the mail, unless I want to carry my 25lb 16 month old in one arm and my 35lb kicking screaming flailing 3 year old in the other arm the whole 6-8 minute walk back (6-8 minutes seems like nothing, until you are carrying a 3 year old that doesn't want to be carried). I cannot take my son to church because he panics when we try to leave him in class, worship is too loud and he gets too bored sitting out in the foyer for an hour. Play dates just don't work. We cannot go to a restaurant for dinner, or any other meal for that matter. It's more exhausting than enjoyable to go on family outings because we do not get to spend time together, instead we take turns chasing him around and trying to avoid/dealing with meltdowns. And my husband and I never get to have date nights...
Reality is, my 16 month old talks better than my 3 year old. She listens better, she understands more and she stops when you say stop and will probably be potty trained before he is.
Reality is, he screams. He screams when he is happy, when he is sad, when he is mad, he screams when he is excited, when he is tired and sometimes for no reason at all.
Reality is that some days I just really, really wish my son would call me Mom and let me hold him and let me sing to him.