I have always written about how amazingly well Ashlyn does.
And she does.
She can talk you in circles, debate like no other, just got a 3.5 GPA on her first high school report card and is the kindest, most pure-hearted person you will ever meet.
But autism can still kick our butts.
I say “our” because if it is kicking her’s it is kicking mine.
There are days when the computer is running slow or she forgot a pencil for History class or the bus does not come on time and she just cannot bounce back and she is old now and the sensory toys and calming games don’t have any pull anymore and I feel helpless.
Yesterday we had a “drop whatever you were going to buy and get out” moment for the first time in a long time. For a brief second my mind drifted.
Wow, I forgot about this. This hasn’t happened in ages, we’ve come a long way.
The second that thought was over my butt kicked back into gear because I had a red faced, possible steam coming out of the ears, teenager rocking back and forth at my side and a nice little crowd of shoppers, who needed to just go back to looking down at their prospective shoe purchases, on my hands.
This was no time for reflecting.
We got to the car, the walk in the cold air softening her meltdown, and she was so sorry and upset and all I could think about was that there is no vacation for her. No matter what she does that darn autism can creep up, overwhelm her and the rest is history.
I would love to give her a break.
Cry mercy once in a while and give her a chance to sail through social situations, laugh at an unexpected surprise or manage a day of high school hallways stress free.
My magic wand does not seem to be working though so for now I called her out of school for the day and gave her some time at the safest place to be a teenager with a case of autism that won’t leave you alone…
For the most part, we can manage a grocery store without having to abandon a full cart in aisle five and can totally enjoy a trip to the mall (as long as I don’t make her try anything on and no toddlers are in tow), but there are a million autism moms out there who are at a loss right now because they don’t make shopping carts big enough to buckle in an 8 year old and the tile pattern in the mall floor is way too repetitive to get their 5 year old to actually veer into a store.
If you know one offer to help.
Check on their stock of groceries before you head to the store or offer to babysit once in a while.
They may not even know how much they need you.
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Yesterday, for the first time ever, I had another mom offer to help me. I almost burst into tears of gratefulness. Not even because I needed the help so much, but just because there was genuine kindness behind the offer instead of the judgemental opinions. Amazing how five seconds of your time can make all the difference to someone.
Thanks for sharing the ups and downs of autism. We all see what an amazing young lady Ashlyn is and we all have our days where we just can't deal with all life throws at us. I'm sure it was a much needed vacation day and hopefully you both got to enjoy some of it.
This is probably a window into my future…I've wondered what it will like when Audrey is a teenager. I may have to keep a hidden stash of pacifiers and Baby Einstein videos well into her teens.
My granddaughter doesn't have autism, but she is obsessive/compulsive and many of the things you spoke about have happened with her.