Life with Nathan really feels like a series of up & down. Emotionally, that is. He’ll be improving, growing and working really hard and even if it’s tough day to day, you have something tangible to hold on to. Progress. Success. Failures. Trying again. Up. Down. Up.
Maybe it’s the cold. Maybe the interventions we’re trying aren’t working. Maybe it’s PMS. I don’t really care, but right now, we’re in a serious Down.
I’ve been pretending not to see it. To assume that he’s just tired and not trying. I’m making excuses like “he’s growing” or “his social skills are improving” but the fact remains that his speech improvements have not just ground to a halt but have slid backwards. He slurs words, garbles letters, substitutes sounds he mastered before Kindergarten and is generally next to impossible to understand.
As I wait this out, trying not to get frustrated or frustrate him by asking him one more time “What did you say?”, I’m reminded of how Autism makes me feel powerless. I’ve gotten to a point where I can almost think “autism & Nathan” in the same sentence without cringing. I can even throw it out in passing once in awhile.
I want so badly to help him. To not label him or limit him but to guide him toward adulthood just as I will with Eric. But, I am so discouraged. I can’t accept that this is the best he’s going to speak and so I keep encouraging him.
It’s just that some days are harder than others. And when you couple all our frustration, work, daycare, school and volunteer commitments, it’s close to impossible to maintain that cheerful, we’ll get through it attitude. (not to mention the cold. everything is just harder in the cold.)
So, today is one of those days where I’m hanging on by a thread. I’ve been at work all day. It should be a break from my worries. But I can’t seem to push them out today. Tonight I’ll take them to the Library & the librarian will remind me, without ever being asked, in her gentle way, that Nathan is moving forward.
Maybe it is summed up by The Dixie Chicks best:
Our children are watching us,
They put their trust in is
They’re gonna be like us
Let’s learn from our history & do it differently
I hope, for more love, more joy and laughter
I hope, we’ll have more than ever we need
I hope, we’ll have more happy ever after
I hope, we can all love fearlessly
And we can lose all the pain & misery,
I hope, I hope.