He’s fifteen now.
He’s taking Driver’s Ed, and he’s captain of the track team. He plays basketball, goes to summer camp, and has a wicked sense of humor. He walked into the kitchen yesterday and gave me the biggest hug ever. Then he said, ”I love you, Mom” before grabbing a Gatorade (only the yellow kind) out of my fridge. Then he ran out the door to play hoops with his little brother. I took in a big sigh and laughed.
Omg, I totally forgot my kid is autistic.
Funny, right? I mean, what kind of mother forgets her child is autistic? A lucky one, I guess. A grateful one. A mom that is so beyond relieved that her son can look her in the eye and say “I love you”….that she can’t even recall the last time he did anything “Aspie-ish”. Ya, I’m that mom, and I am one-hundred percent okay with it. I forgot my kid is autistic because I spent the last fifteen years of my life remembering.
I remembered everything.
I remembered the speech therapy appointments. I remembered occupational therapy appointments. And the behavioral modification sessions. I remembered when to brush him, and what time to go to the doctor for his EKG. I remembered how to do the correct pencil grip, or the compression wraps…how to set up the rice to dig out the pegs. Or how to put on the headphones for his music therapy. I remembered what kind of sheets he liked on the bed, the temperature of the room, and how to cook the bacon exactly right so he would eat it. I remembered the order of the songs we had to sing every night, and the books we had to read so he would sleep. It was MY job to remember everything. Moms have to remember it all; He was my full-time job. “Curing Autism” became my obsession, and I wasn’t going to quit until Jonah was one of the lucky ones. I remembered giving up everything for him.
But I wouldn’t have changed a thing…Jonah was my life.
I also remember when the doctors told us he would never play a team sport or understand how to make lasting friendships. That he would never comprehend that I was his Mom and our relationship. He wouldn’t “get” social cues, and would have a hard time in social settings. I remember the look on my then husband’s face when they told us he had “weak muscle tone” and might not ever ride a bike, or walk correctly… I remember his third birthday when he said his first real sentence, “Mom, best party ever!” And I remember sobbing, looking across the room at my Mom….and seeing her mouth the words, “You did it, Jen”. Omg I’m crying as I write this. I remember every, single minute of his life.
I remember everything I had to do to get him where he is right now.
So, we celebrated his fifteenth birthday last week…a cake and stuff. Crazy, he’s never even been on any medication. In fact, I started taking meds back when he was diagnosed at 22 months old! Ha. I tell my friends, I medicated so he didn’t have to. It’s impossible to have a child with special needs and not take something, y’all. I wouldn’t have made it, I’m telling ya. And I’m not ashamed to say it. Jonah is incredible. He’s empathetic, kind-hearted…and sarcastic. He is a rock star. I found my journals from when he was little, and as Jonah will say he was in full “autismode”. I crack up when he uses that word. Autismode. I can’t even believe what he has overcome. More importantly, HE can’t believe what he’s overcome. So, yes, I sometimes forget my kid is autistic. But at this point in his incredible life, I’m HAPPY not to remember. 😉