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Life’s a Puzzle

Life has a way of throwing curveballs. Even when you think you already know what it is, you still end up surprised when it happens. Parenting is the hardest job I’ve done. Teaching a room of 12 two year olds was so much easier than being on call 24/7 for a three and almost two year old. Sometimes I long to go back to that time where I would hand those children back to their parents at the end of the day and then do whatever I wanted. I love my boys, I really do; it’s just tiring to always be available for them. You wonder what you’re doing wrong and what you’re doing right as a parent. Are you good enough? Are your children happy? Should you do more? Less? Are you helicoptering? Too free range?

Why does it feel like a competition where the other moms are judging you vs moms lifting each other up? Lord knows it truly does take a village to raise children. To come alongside other moms and lift them up, tell them they’re doing a wonderful job, offer a hand (or two!). That’s what I want. What I need. To not fear judgement when I’m trying my best.

Josh was just diagnosed with Autism.

I thought maybe he was months ago and then switched to “no, he’s just got a speech delay that’s affecting other areas”. Now we have an actual diagnosis and somehow I feel unprepared. As if I’ve done something wrong. I’m terrified of what others will think or say. Will he thrive with a “normal” life? I don’t want the diagnosis to become a label. I don’t want that to be all people see. I don’t want it to be a crutch. I do hope it will create more understanding and compassion when my child is losing his absolute mind around others and can’t be calmed down even with my best efforts vs the judgmental looks I’ve received. Maybe a short explanation of “I’m sorry. He’s autistic” will bring more compassion from others in those situations. We now get to figure out the next steps (and there’s so, so many steps). It’s overwhelming and daunting. I have so much that I now have to do to make sure he gets all the necessary help to let him thrive. We have to go through the school district (which I have no idea how to do since I was homeschooled), get him into the EFMP with the military, therapists and specialists, figure out preschool, figure out if I can still homeschool him or if he needs more that I can’t give him at home and so much more. There’s just so much to process and learn with this.

The short time he was with the regional center before his third Birthday was not easy on me. We had therapists at our house four days every week and I was so happy when we hit his Birthday and that all came to an end. Now however, that will be our new normal and I have no idea how to mentally prepare myself to be that continuously busy.

I'm not a social person. I'm a perfectionist. I need my house CLEAN when I know people will be over but I have a hard time keeping up with it with how much my children need me (Jonathan is also going into the regional center for services and we will be watching him closely...). We may need to hire a housekeeper to help me keep up with the house as I focus on the boys and deal with our new very busy schedule.

To some extent, this diagnosis is a relief. Over the years with nannying and teaching, I've worked with autistic children so I did have thoughts on Josh but kept pushing it off that I just wasn't doing a good enough job raising him. I shouldn't be having as difficult a time as I have with him. The tantrums shouldn't be on the level they're on. His stubbornness level shouldn't be as rigid and unyielding as it is (even for a three year old).

At least now I know that it isn't all my fault and I'm not just failing with my mothering. I'm not sure how other cities offer services and what's available but I am so thankful that we're stationed here in San Diego. There are so many options and available help. God placed us in the perfect house for this time in our lives surrounded by friends, family and wonderful neighbors who are willing to help me navigate this new life of ours (and I will be accepting all help offered at this point). I am overwhelmed and trying to take in way too much information at this point, so please, be kind as we move into our new way of life.

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