Autism Awareness month concludes today!!!!!!!!
Today is the last day of April meaning that Autism Awareness Month has come to an end. I’m actually quite surprised that I saw the whole month out but admit that words of encouragement from lovely Facebook friends kept me going. I’ve gained so much from the discussions we’ve all had, and have so appreciated the dozens of personal inbox messages with questions and more stories from your own experiences, and the regular comments that you’ve all left on the posts. It’s been an amazing month. If nothing else, it’s generated some really great conversation and we’ve all discovered more about one another. This makes me resolute to keep sharing my thoughts on a regular basis – maybe not every day – but every other day.
I think it’s really fitting that we end on a positive and high note with all of this! So here it goes.
These are the things Autism has taught me …
Autism has taught me to celebrate even the smallest of achievements – the first time James hand led me to what he wanted, the first time he pointed, the first time he sat in the hall at Primary School and the first time he initiated a hug.
Autism has taught me not to sweat the small stuff. I know it’s all relative but there is so much that I just let go now because it just no longer seems important. And at the end of the day the ‘small stuff’ is the majority of the things that happen around us every day and the important stuff is those key things that happen throughout the day that we should spend time appreciating and being grateful for.
Autism has taught me my limits. When it comes to my boys, I’ve looked my limits in the face a number of times, and even then I’ve still got a little bit more to give! The love I have for these two delightful, mischievous little cherubs still amazes me every day.
I’ve also learnt my limits now with respect how much I take on. Last year I took on way too much. I managed it OK but it had a huge impact on my family. I will never do that again. I’ve learnt my limits and there’s such a flow on effect in our house when I’m overly busy. The boys need me here at the end of the day. James requires consistency in every way – and I’m it! If I’m away or getting home late and the routine is mixed up, it has an unfortunate flow on effect. At present I work 5 days a week from 8:45-2:45pm which is totally arranged around my pick up and drop schedule with the boys. I know I’m fortunate to be able to gear my work this way. Outside of work, there are lots of things that I politely say ‘no’ to these days and I know that people don’t always understand … but that’s OK! I know what I need to do to keep this family on track!
I’ve learnt to pick my battles wisely. When it comes to protecting your child and advocating for them, there are some fights worth having but you have to pick your battles. Likewise, with your children there are some fights worth having and other things that you just have to let go.
Autism has given me a great appreciation for the road of all parents, in particular, my own parents. As a parent now myself, I now appreciate how hard my folks worked to foster great relationships between all of us, to spend time with us, and to cultivate our passions and interests. They have been a great example to us across the board. Through the good times and the bad, my family have given me so much support and understanding. I hope that Chris and I are able to give all of these gifts to our boys. I appreciate my family very much and love them all to pieces!
Autism has taught me a lot about the meaning of true love and commitment. Chris and I actually finished school at Downlands together in the same year. We were in a band together (we were so cool!!!) and had many classes together as well. Our younger brothers have remained friends since school so our families always remained connected. Ten years later, we ended up in the same class together at University, both studying for our Masters degree – and the rest is history! He makes me laugh … admittedly I’m often laughing alone … he has NO idea how funny he is … but he’s a character! He loves me unconditionally and supports me in everything I do. I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved together and I know that there are very few men who would have coped with the last few years of our life as well as he has! We’ve certainly had our share of ups and downs, and it certainly hasn’t been easy but I still love Chris for all the same reasons I married him! I think we make a pretty formidable team!
I am thoroughly grateful for my two mischievous boys! James is the strongest, most determined and most endearing little creature you will ever meet. And Tom is our drama student. He tells the best stories and entertains us with made up songs and tall stories. He’s a very loving and forgiving little boy and he is the best brother to James. They are both great little mates. I am sure that theirs will be a lifetime mateship. They fight like all siblings do, but they protect one another and care for one another enormously. I love them both for that too.
So … like most exciting and rewarding adventures, my journey to and beyond parenthood has had some hair-raising moments. It’s had surprising twists and turns, some dizzying heights and some gut wrenching lows … and that’s kind of how life is, isn’t it? I’ve learnt that it’s not so much about the adventure itself, it’s more about what you learn and how you handle yourself along the way!
Team Rosentreter seem to have done OK so far. We are strapped in, ready for whatever our adventure throws at us next. And we so grateful for those who have been on this ride with us to date, and we welcome with open arms those who wish to join us for the next leg! Bring it on.
Lots of love to you all xxxx