If you’ve been here for more than 5 minutes you know our story.
As a baby he CRIED ALL THE TIME.
He didn’t sleep well. Or eat well. Or show any signs of being friendly.
As a toddler, he appeared uncomfortable ALL THE TIME and he was delayed in most developmental ways.
(Probably) out of frustration, he acted out in all the ways. I know what it looked like to outsiders.
He was a handful (to put it mildly) and he tested my patience and my sanity on every level and in every way.
At age 5, he was not able to speak, read or write. Forget writing; he couldn’t even hold a pencil properly.
Due to his Autism, he was unable to communicate in a way that I could understand.
He gave teachers and therapists and doctors and camp councilors and baby sitters a run for their money. Many were not up to the task and crumbled. Some stuck around and a small number are still here watching him grow and cheering him on.
We’ve been stared at. Scowled at. Laughed at. Commented on. Judged. Teased. Abandoned. Given up on.
I read and researched EVERYTHING that was remotely relatable or relevant.
I spent YEARS being permanently tired and stressed and sad and worried and anxiety ridden.
I went to therapy my damn self.
At age 9, my boy is sweet and charming and a delight. He’s considerate and loving and affectionate. He is funny and helpful and interesting to speak with. He has friends and is in clubs at school and is mostly responsible about doing what needs to be done. He is well nourished and well rested – And always well dressed thanks to his superb sense of style.
He is happy.
(Except when he’s hungry.)
He is a joy to parent.
My boy wrote and illustrated a comic story. In fact, he’s writing a series of comic books and has just completed issue 4.
This is not a small thing.
He worked hard to get to this point. That cannot ever be overstated.
His teachers and therapists worked hard to get him to this point. They continue to work hard. The job is not done. I will forever be grateful to all the strangers we meet at the start of every school year who go above and beyond to help their students. Not because they will see any financial or professional gain or even get any recognition – But out of a general goodness of heart.
Family and friends have been unwaveringly accommodating and understanding and kept showing up for us and kept inviting us out and made lots of efforts to provide a happy and welcoming environment for him. No matter what behaviours were displayed.
We never gave up on him or treated him as though he wasn’t smart or couldn’t accomplish things. One bad day or minute was just that. One bad day or minute. We shook it off and started over with fresh optimism the next day. Or sat on the floor in the bathroom to take a few deep breaths. Chin up, smile on, back straight – Try again.
We never spoke about him as though he wasn’t there. We never assumed the worst. Only the best.
We kept going out and kept signing him up and kept asking for help. We celebrated every bit of progress in a big way. The people who love us, celebrated with us.
I’m so proud of my Jay Boogie and so very thankful for the support we’ve had throughout the years. I just need to say that. That support made all the difference.
Lots of kids struggle – Whether it’s due to their environment or their neurology or their physiology – Or any other myriad reasons.
Lots of parents are not coping well or responding appropriately.
Shaming, bullying, ignoring, abandoning, abusing, isolating our children is not the way.
Shaming, passing judgment, laughing at, ignoring parents who are struggling is not the way.
I wish every kid (and parent) who needed help, could get it. No matter their family situation or their zip code.
What are we doing if we are not helping our children to be their absolute best?
That’s all I’ve got.
Well … that and a couple pictures of Issue # 4. It’s freaking awesome!!!