There are moments that every parent fears; ones where we need to be completely present and mindful with our reactions and words. Moments that can be key for our children's self-esteem and their positive development of how to interact with the world.
When my little man began a preK program at the local gymanstics center, we were excited at his response to wanting to play with other children. His social engagement is one of the key places where his autism shows up. When the other children began to ask why he needed his mama's help during gymnastics, the teacher gave a good and truthful response; he needs help managing his anxiety. But the children continued to ask her, little man and myself. Then a few weeks ago my precious little man asked me "what is wrong with me mommy?" We had always explained to little man that he viewed the world in a beautifully different way and other kids may not understand that. But I was still gut-wrenched and had to hold back the tears as I picked up him up and told him Nothing was wrong with him. He was a kind, gentle, smart little man who wasn't really interested in the same things that other four year olds are. I explained that is why he is going to play with Mrs. Kayla & Mr. Darryl (his behavioral therapists) to learn how to play with other kids. I also used this opportunity to highlight all of the amazing things about him...all of the wonderful gifts that he has brought our family.
Yesterday, he declared that he had a disease and ran off to play with his friends. Kayla hovered to see if he continued on with this conversation with the other children but there was nothing, just things little boys like to talk about. When she told me at pickup, my chest felt like it had collapsed under it's own weight. I looked at him and he was smiling watching me proudly. Kayla and I discussed a few possibilities of where this self-realization came from. We decided that some of my discussions at his recent doctors appointments was the key point he put it all together. He was very present with his child developmental specialist. We discussed that he was an excellent candidate to engage in society, the overall therapy plan for the next year and homeschooling resources. We also think that his recent interest in anatomy is where the term disease came into play. I gave him a big hug and reiterated what I do everyday...how amazing he is, how proud I am to be his mama and he is my favorite thing in the entire Universe.
I am still unsure how to navigate all of the emotions I am feeling this morning. I did my go to with any situation...googled for books and ordered them. It seems to me that he has had that "this all makes sense to me now" moment that so many older children and adults discuss when they receive their diagnosis. But I feel heartbroken that he has been robbed of part of his innocence. Part of me, wanted to protect him as long as I could; to keep the young adult part of his brain from totally taking over the child part. To let him experience life through little innocent eyes, but that isn't how he sees the world....and this moment of realization for me has been overwhelming. This has been one of my biggest fears as a special needs mama for so many reasons. I don't really let myself get emotional about the disabilities my little man has because I haven't felt there was space for it. I spend so much energy and time on taking care of him and making sure that I have opportunities and adventures planned for him...I don't always check-in with how I am navigating the autism mommy life. This morning has shown me, today is a good day to start feeling my way through; allow my gratitude for all the blessings we have hold space and anchor me...
Below are my article contributions and podcasts...
MoveOnPast podcast, episode 8
~honoring space to hear my inner knowing
~enhancing our awareness
~the benefits of a flow & restore practice
~we need to stay curious as yoga teachers
~small moments of stillness to carry me through the day
~elephant journal contributions...
~how my flow & restore practice has helped me relinquish old stories
~cultivating intentional rest through restorative yoga