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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Fall Reflections and Moving Forward

I really need to make a better effort to collect my thoughts and blog more often. It seems as a family we are moving more a more toward typicalism (yes, I just made that word up). 

Hayden is loving martial arts and is currently a purple belt. Every fall Hayden seems to regress a bit. He has started to verbally stimm again at times. I think its related to allergens and a histamine issue that I have largely been unsuccessful at treating. I also feel that his viral load is high and I am recently started to actively treat it. We are still very much involved and helping Hayden heal 100%. I look forward to the weather staying cool so Hayden can get back on track. 

Ruby is also loving martial arts, after school clubs, ballet, tap, and jazz. She is one busy girl and loves all that she does. She had a hard transition to first grade, but seems to back to loving school again.

Brandon is quickly building his real-estate portfolio, wrote his fist book, and working his booty off. That man works day and night.

Then there is me. I have been floundering with what to do with myself ever since the kids returned to school full time 3 years ago. This past fall I went back down to part time employment. I workout five days a week. I must say its my mental health. I love pushing myself and seeing what my body is capable of. The strength I have gained physically has really shocked me. This time last year I struggled with doing one push up. Today I did 50 :)

Ok, back to the floundering....... I have struggled these past three years to really figure out who I am post autism and what I want out of life. I feel like a completely different person. While in the trenches of autism land I didn't have time to think about myself or take care of myself. I devoted every waking moment to my children. Most people may think that I am overacting about my devotion. In reality most people have no clue what went on. There were many days that I didn't shower, eat, or sleep. I was focused on keeping Hayden safe (which was a 24/7 job as he didn't sleep), preparing all his food from scratch, running, training, managing, and working in his 40-60 hour a week home based therapy program, parenting my infant and autistic toddler, managing and delivering Hayden's supplement schedule, and working my job 24 hours a week outside the home. Looking back I am uncertain how I not only survived what I did, but truly lived in the moment. I have PTSD from it and still have exhaustion. It's not bad by any means but certain things put me on edge.

Ok, back to the floundering yet again.........We have all changed greatly from our experience with autism. It's forced Brandon to look completely outside the box to secure a future for our family. Ruby is loving and accepting of all people. She does not shy away from people with different abilities. Instead she becomes their friend and loves them. Hayden is just awesome in every way imaginable. He has the biggest heart. He has no idea how many people's lives he has touched and made view things from a different perspective. Then there is me.

The last three years I have not actively pursued who I am or who I want to be. I really felt like it would just come to me. Well, it was there all this time I just was not ready to see it or admit it. My biggest joy in life is being a Mom and housewife. I don't find satisfaction in working outside the home anymore. My joy is at home. If someone would have told me this 13 years ago I would have laughed in their face. I wanted nothing to do with being a stay at home Mom. In fact being a Mom was not on the radar. I was super career oriented, type A personality, selfish, control freak. My head still spins thinking about how much my journey into parenthood of an severely autistic child has completely changed me.

Hayden has taught me to stop and smell the roses. Its ok to not constantly be in motion. Its ok to sit and reflect and its completely ok to be yourself. I am such a happier, stronger, healthier, person because of that little boy.

I am ready to move forward. I am no longer going to flap around like a fish unsure of what direction to go. I'm READY!!! Man is this freeing. My heart and soul is being with my family. I'm finally at peace with this. I'm also ready to do something many people have encourage me to do. I'm ready to write my book about our journey in, through, and around autism. More importantly my journey into finding myself, loving myself, and living life the way I want in order to help my son. 

GAH.....now to start!! I know I am going to need a hardcore editor as my grammar, punctuation, spelling, and whatever format I was taught in college to use (can't think of the name) is completely off key. Do I write it microsoft word?? What's the best way to back it up (I'm technology challenged).

That's it! Expect my book to be quirky, witty, and a little cheesy mixed with some hardcore deep digging emotions.

That's it for tonight. I have to go move an Elf. Peace and Love friends :)

Saturday, June 4, 2016

I made a decision :)

Hello everyone :) It has been a while since I have updated my blog. I am happy to report that Hayden and Ruby had a great school year and that school is out for the summer.  WoooHOOO.....my favorite time of the year. I seriously love having my kids home and all the adventures summer takes us on.

The last month or so I have found myself pretty much exhausted from all the running here and there that we do.  I also found out that our tuition was going up at school. It really made me re-evaluate sending the kids to school at all. I miss my kids and felt like we were really missing out on downtime at home. I also did not like the idea of having to work more. I already work 40+ hours a week and I manage to be a full time stay at home Mom in the process. The idea of working less, spending more time with the kids, going on adventures, and hiring a part time nanny to assist in their education seemed amazing. I never, never, never, and I mean NEVER thought I would be the homeschool type Mom. It really blows my mind how much my entire life and self has changed since I have had children.

I had been talking to the kids about homeschooling. They really shocked me with their responses. Ruby was ready to quit school that moment and never return. Hayden sobbed and said he would miss Oak Farm, and all his friends. This was the complete opposite of what I thought they would say.

I had my mind pretty much set that we would be embarking on a homeschool adventure in the fall. Then I went on a class field trip with Hayden's old class. When we got to the playground and Hayden's friends seen him they ran towards one another. There was literally a line, lined up waiting to give Hayden a hug. I shed tears and did my best to refrain from full on sobbing. Hayden was so happy to see his old friends and his old friends were so happy to see him.  We had a great time on the field trip.

On the last day of school I got to be at school all day with Hayden to participate in messy wars. I cried so many different times that day. I even had to excuse myself to the bathroom to sob at one point. His entire school must think I am an over emotional wack job. Sometimes I really get overwhelmed with all the things that Hayden is doing, achieving, and a part of. Our goals for Hayden have never been educational based. We have always made goals for him that were social / emotional based.

One of the first things we did on messy wars day was to make a book to have friends sign. Hayden made his and asked several friends to sign his book. He also had many friends ask him to sign their books. The next thing we did was make vessels for raw eggs to go into to be dropped from the top of the silo. Hayden asked me for a glove. I thought he was talking about a winter glove and told him I didn't have one. He then went to his teacher to ask for a glove and she knew just what he wanted......a rubber glove.  Hayden then asked for me to blow up the rubber gloves and attached them to his vessel.  Man is he smart! Several other children then wanted gloves to put on their vessels. Hayden's egg did not break! He was so excited and proud of himself.

Throughout the morning Hayden would chat with or read books with his friends leaving me in the dust. I joyfully and tearfully observed while I interacted with the other children. Hayden stayed in his classroom for lunch so I could go have lunch with Ruby and her class. Hayden was more than happy for me to leave. He was so excited to have lunch with his classmates.

After lunch it was time for messy wars!!! What an amazing event this was and right up Hayden's alley. He loved messy baseball.  The home plate was a kiddie pool of water. 1st base was a tarp with cooked spaghetti, 2nd base was shaving cream, and 3rd base was jello.  Hayden was hitting the balls as hard as the other boys and sliding in to the bases with ease. Oh, how he was completely covered in goo and having the time of his life.  Many times I observed Hayden chatting and laughing with the other kids. He did the egg toss, slip in slide, obstacle course, water balloon pass.  It was absolutely amazing!!!

Seeing Hayden be a strong, independent, happy child in a community that he is so very much loved completely melts my heart. There are so many students and teachers at Oak Farm that see Hayden for who he is and completely love and accept him.  There is no judgments about his differences or a focus on what he can't do. There is only all these wonderful people that love him and are completely cheering him on and doing everything possible to give him the tools he needs to be sucessful.

I reflect back to the days when our goals were:

Hayden will point to a picture on his wall to tell us what he needs
Hayden will use a one word sentence to get a need met
Hayden will glance at us
Hayden will sleep for more than 2 hours at a time
Hayden will recognize danger (i.e. not throwing knives, leaving the house, or jumping in water)
Hayden will stop swimming in the toilet

I really don't think most people get just how bad Hayden's autism was. It seems like a life time ago that I was on edge 24/7 out of fear that my son was going to hurt himself. I didn't sleep, I didn't eat, and I didn't take showers for days kind of fear because it only took a second for him to disappear.

It seems like ages ago! Almost like a dream. Hayden has made me a better person! I really don't think there is one person that Hayden has worked with that doesn't see the world a bit differently. He made me see the world through a completely different set of eyes and I am so much more at peace because of it. I am only responsible for my own emotions :) I can choose to see the world however I want. I can choose happiness in any scenario. Does that mean I always feel that way??? Heck, no.....I am human and I get grumpy/ down right cranky. I accept that and move on.

So what did I decide???? Drum roll please.....................after seeing Hayden with his friends, his classmates, teachers, and hearing how much he is thriving at a end of the school year meeting Hayden and Ruby will both be attending Oak Farm next year :). We will continue to extend Hayden's school day as tolerated. I have found a couple Mom's to carpool with, and my parents have graciously offered to pay half of the tuition. I can't even tell you how much deeper I can breath after making this decision.

Hayden is official a green belt and is jumping off the diving board with out a lifejacket / floaties.
Now back to summer shenanigans :)

Much love to our huge support system! It really does take a town.