The Autism Is Mighty

It’s been insane! A psychologist once asked me who I go to de-stress, who I go to who takes care of ME for a change.

Nobody. I have got nobody but God. My true friends are either far away or also as physically sick as I am. My Cape Town friend and I spend much airtime telling each other, “I wish I was strong enough to come help you.” And I know she means it and she knows I mean it. But we can’t. We’re both ill. My husband and I visited her recently and when she asked how I am, I gave her a look and said, “I’m fine, sis.”

Husband caught the look and said, “Huh? What does that look mean?”

She told him, “We know each other, my brother. We are never really fine. So when we give each other that look, it means “I’m not ok but today is not as bad as other days.”

Add homeschooling a little zoo of six, with multiple special needs, and that would be enough to make a healthy person feel sick anyway!

The autism is strong in this house. By that, I mean the symptoms are strong these days! The meltdowns that make a baby go from happy to screaming in half a second, making me wonder from my bed if she cracked her head open and if I should go see, seeing as I’m not allowed to lift anything post-op. It means I know that in a few years’ time, she too will be medicated as our son was when I described his loud meltdowns to the neurologist. I had had no clue there was help. I was just describing how the whole neighbourhood knows when there’s trouble. And there was FREQUENTLY trouble.

It means that hands are flapping so fast that they could power a windmill. It means there amid even a new ‘thing’ now, where he gets on his haunches and pretends to be a frog and constantly says, “Ribbit, ribbit” no matter what is going on. Even when I’m pointing at a cow and asking a baby what the cow says.

It means the singing continues and it it is still months since I last heard the word, “Mommy.” But it also means I appreciate any bit of eye contact. In fact, I still feel so protective that I’m tempted to look away. I was going through photos on my screen and she came across a photo of me, she froze. Looked up at me. Looked down at the photo. Looked up at me and SMILED! Smiled and gave me a kiss! When autism rules your baby’s world and she doesn’t do smiles a lot, doesn’t do cuddles and pretty much acts like the room you’re in is more important than you, moments like these are like hugs from heaven!

The autism is mighty. The winds of disquietude are blowing. I’m seriously considering moving to an agricultural (We still want country living) area in Pretoria as there are more resources there than in the Cape.

But I’ve been here before and I’ve survived. The symptoms are just that. Just symptoms. My children are more than autism. They are the beautiful, chubby girl who looks adorable me to me, despite her atrocious hair that she won’t let us touch. It means her brother is a very happy, flappy boy who thinks we love his company and need it desperately (When all we really want is five minutes to breathe and hide from them 😄.)

The autism is strong. But man, so is the love. I love these children with all my heart. I read of abuse survivors’s stories with horror. No matter what the provocation is, yes, while I pity the moms who murder their autistic children, my love is too strong.

I don’t go to anybody when the going gets tough. Somehow, love is enough for now!

I can’t wait till I’m allowed to pick them up and hug them. They are my joy. I’m stressed. Worried. But I’m happy.

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