Autism Awareness Month
April is Autism Awareness Month. When you're pregnant you pray for 10 fingers 10 toes, right?
When my boys were in preschool, I remember the first day pulling up to firetrucks at the school when it was time to pick up the kids. Being a normal mom, I panicked and ran in and one of the teachers said that some kid pulled the fire alarm and I said “Wow, I can't believe a kid would ever do that!" in my sarcastic voice, secretly hoping that it's was not my kid. I went to his class and the teacher looked at me and said, “ Oh yes, it was Zealand." I was mortified and I of course laughed, as well... later. The next day we pull up to the school - firetrucks are out in the parking lot again and I rolled my eyes and thought, “Yep, it's probably my son!" And it was.
I apologized profusely and the next day when we showed up to school, we noticed that there were boxes covering the fire alarms. Let's call these the "baby gate" for 5 year old Zealand.
When he was born, he was the easiest baby in the world, he rarely cried and we could take him anywhere! (Unlike his baby brother, thank God Soren was born 2nd, otherwise we would've only had 1) HA!
When Zealand (now 9 years old) was little we noticed he wasn't hitting the milestones that other kids were. We talked to his pediatrician and tried to enroll him in Early Intervention, but to no avail, he was diagnosed with a developmental delay. I, as mommy, thought, “Well that's no big deal, we can handle this!" The older he got, the word "Autism" was thrown around but could not concluded. Whew!
We got private therapies for him.
*Side note-"autism" is not something you can "see" in a child or person. In fact autistic children have an angelic face that knows no sin.
When Zealand was in 2nd grade, the pediatrician and school agreed that he was autistic. I was broken. I had to go through a grieving period, to let go of the dreams I had for Zealand and begin to dream new dreams. I didn't understand why God allowed my son to be "different". Someone told me once that God only gives special children to special people and that moment I realized that God had entrusted me with Zealand and I am honored to know that.
What does being a "special needs mom" mean?
Research, advocating, fighting, research, advocating, fighting, and so on… and being honest with yourself. It's work, but our babies are worth it. After all, God trusts you and I to be his little minions on this earth. Don't forget though, God loves our babies more than we do, it's hard to fathom that, right? But it's the truth!
Trust me, don't be scared. The journey is fun and when your kid makes progress - celebrate each and every time!
This adventure has only begun. Dream, love, laugh and live hard! To this day Zealand is and will always be my hero, I fight, but HE is the winner!