He’s 12 years old now. It seems hard to believe. 12 years of struggling and fighting to get to this point. It seems longer and yet it doesn’t seem that long at all. I guess that’s normal. Most parents feel that way. I guess it’s different because it’s been 12 years of Autism.
Life is not easy when you have Autism in your life. Whether you are a parent of or are the autistic person, challenges abound. Let me give you an idea.
It’s been 12 years of communication issues. Sometimes he’s been unable to communicate at all, sometimes he can get across what he wants after a lot of effort. Sometimes it causes so much frustration that he becomes violent. Sometime we have the same conversation hundreds of times a day.
It’s been 12 years of health issues. RSV virus, Jaundice, ear infections every few months, dental problems, bruises and bite marks, behavioral issues, attention problems, sleep disturbances and allergies.
It’s been 12 years of sleeping issues. The first six years of sleeping in our bed because of night terrors, then the next six years of sleeping in his own bed but getting up multiple times every night, which means that I’ve slept on his floor more hours than I can count.
It’s been years of violent outburst and broken things. We’ve had to replace a TV, several chairs, and now a window. There are holes in the walls, a lot of broken toys, and quite a few rips in our clothes.
And yet through all this, he has grown and started to thrive. He has friends who adore him. Everyone in town seems to know his name and they always say hi to him. He reads, he writes albeit both really slowly and with difficulty. He loves to tell jokes. He laughs and plays. He knows what he likes and isn’t afraid to tell you. He loves to help around the house and help in the yard. Although he is usually terrified of new things, he loves an adventure. He’s terrified of storms but can’t wait for them either. He loves amusement park rides even though the surroundings overwhelm him. Animals love him although he is usually scared of them. He’s growing into a relatively well rounded young man.
I know that we have a really long way to go and not all of it is going to be positive. Sometimes every day is a struggle, but I look at how far we’ve come and I couldn’t be more proud of my son. He’s overcome so much to be the wonderful 12 year old that he is today.
Happy Birthday, Bubba!