We have seen much brighter days, friends.
Our previous week started with our sweet Beckett, out of the blue, looking like he was going to “toss his cookies” during a short car ride.
His adventurous, silly, playful demeanor disappeared, and a sad, quiet, still, slightly pale imposter emerged.
Some kind of tummy bug must have overtaken him, as he was then down for the count for the next couple days, following that outing.
He had morphed into a kid that takes naps and his smiles all but disappeared.
What’s the thing I despise the most surrounding nonverbal autism?
It’s having that ability to communicate when he is ill or hurt being robbed from him; from us all.
It is a miserable feeling, as a parent, to not be able to read his mind; to not be able to pull the answers from a magical hat, when our sweet boy is not himself.
Thankfully, it was relatively short-lived for Beckett, and he is back to his adventurous self, (though in a self-exclaimed “quarantine”, as we opted not to torture him mentally/physically with testing demands for the current pandemic).
*Big mama exhale*
But the week truly only worsened for our extended family, and my nerves haven’t had the opportunity to normalize.
A member of our family suffered a devastating, fatal medical episode, and it has gotten my ‘mom brain’ spiraling.
Friends, I am an open book.
I share often, and some could say I maybe even share “too much”.
I share that I am a woman riddled with severe anxiety.
I am a Mama that suffers from PTSD.
And I’m a Mama that has her guard up for her nonverbal, autistic son, every minute of everyday.
I am on “high alert”, always. I have to be, for safety’s sake.
And when illness, and loss, and worry takes over my mind, it is the hardest thing in the world to expel.
It may be dark, and sad, but it is equally real.
My imagination runs a marathon, from the starting point “flag wave” of a tummy bug, to the “finish line” of “what happens if I, myself, ever get really sick?”.
What happens when the day arrives that I am taken from this world?
Will my son think I simply left him?
Will Beckett one day understand the abstract concept of the loss of life?
Will he truly understand that there’s no day that exists, that I would ever willingly leave his side?
Who will he turn to, to be “his person”?
“To hold his hand for walks and adventures.
Who will cut crusts off of his sandwiches in just the right shape?
And instigate tickle fights.
And know when to be silent, but stay at an arm’s reach, for love and protection.
Anxiety is a very real demon.
I will never say otherwise.
It has dwelled, unwelcome, within me since I was a little girl.
But I want to make an important note, that though these feelings creep in and attempt to make themselves at home, it’s important we give them an expiration date.
It is more than okay, and also necessary to let ourselves feel.
To let ourselves have hard moments, or hours, or days even. But we can’t “live there”.
We can’t stay in it.
Weeks like this one shatter things around us, and force us to get accustomed to being uncomfortable, and address grief.
But it also forces us into a mindset of awareness.
Aware of how much time we spend cleaning up “messes”, and time spent on our electronic devices.
Aware of how we choose to treat others around us.
I want to think less about cleaning up the crayons, paper, and Play-Doh, and focus more on the sensory input our son’s beautiful mind receives from rolling and picking it apart.
I want to spend less time Googling how to help my son live his best life with a beautifully unique mind, and realize that he is already doing just that.
Our boy is happy in his own skin.
He loves with his whole heart.
And the “little things” aren’t little at all.
As parents, there’s nothing more that we could ask for.
My senses are undoubtedly hyperactive. And I am doing my best to put myself on a smarter, clearer path.
A path of awareness that time is precious.
A path of choice, and grace; Acknowledging that we are doing our best with the pieces we are given.
And a path of acceptance, that this one life is what we have.
I am making a conscious choice everyday to spend mine lovingly cutting crusts, rolling play-doh, tickling, writing to share, learning from actions taken (and less from ‘the web’, “professional opinions”, checklists, and medical paperwork).
And most importantly, I will live my life to show our son that he is important; That he is loved and needed, and appreciated.
That he is truly “doing this life right”, just by being himself.
It may take a lifetime, but I am learning, eyes wide open.
Feel that anxiety, and fear, and worry; Then turn the page.
We lose our grip on far too much, while holding onto worry with both hands.
We have seen much brighter days, friends.