Our heart is a delicate thing.
Physically, it is deep within our bodies, cradled by the ribs to protect it, cushioned by organs to keep safe. It is the centre of our core.
Not surprising, emotionally, the heart is almost a mirror image.
It is said to be the “heart” of us, the stabilizing item that holds what is most dear to us, memories that will never fade, most dreamed of hopes and fears, and within all of that is what we value most -our children.
Lincoln is my oldest son and so I have not ever known what it is like to love a child that does not have Autism. Even before diagnosis it was there, and so I cannot comment on whether it is different. I am glad for that too.
It isn’t that I am fearful I might have loved a non-autism child “more” or different, it is simply that I am glad to have had no predisposition thoughts on what Motherhood entailed.
I actually count myself lucky for not knowing that this was just all of the ‘Motherhood package”. I believe that the difficult, confusing and uncomfortable issues that showed themselves at 3 or 4 as “autistic traits” where just accepted as childhood and that itself was a blessing because I never questioned them. I did not complain. I did not search for answers or ways to curve the behavior. With acceptance came the best gift I could give my growing son…room to grow and be himself!!
In some ways Lincoln was a much easier baby and toddler. He loved to curl up and nap with me while I carried his younger brother. At 10 months of age I was pregnant again and the 2 hr naps each afternoon really helped! Lincoln would nestle against me, pull my arms tightly around him (the same way each day…if I had not been too exhausted to notice) and fell instantly asleep. 2 hrs later, he woke.
When the new baby came I NEVER had to worry about him touching or hurting him. I did not notice, but at 17 months LInc had no interest in other kids. If the baby cried, he just went about his playing. He never really bother with him, but he did not ignore the baby. IT had it’s place and he had his. He was never jealous…after the 3 and 4th boys came I realized this as Hawkin (#3) tried to move his little brother from my chest as I fed him so he could climb up on my lap!! He never felt slighted. He knew his place, and there was no reason to worry.
The Mom of an autistic child though does deal with just a bit more emotional baggage.
On this Mothers day as I read the sentences my 7 yr old wrote for me: I love my Mom because…. “she lays with me when I am scared, She gives me hugs, she is my best friend” and I know that no matter how HARD it was (and it was) that it was always WORTH IT.
There are and were times when I felt alone. I was alone. People have a hard time with Autism. They don’t mean to, they don’t want to even, but it is unknown, and ugly sometimes. The oddness, the meltdown, the extra work.
Autism hurts a relationship. It makes parents angry at times, they mostly blame themselves but it richocets back to hurt the people closest to you heart. Spouse, other chlidren, parents, friends.
It can be fixed. It can be reflected, it can be over come. Don’t give up. Perseverance is key.
A Mom of autism always has a delicate heart.
She will never show it, but her heart hurts to make her child happy. Her heart aches for the life she expected her child to have. Her heart wants so desperately to protect her child..but it is just a heart, and can only do so much. That fact, the trueness that love does have some limits, makes her heart sad.
Luckily for her, her heart will glow and mend each time her child exceeds the expectation of ‘society’ the expectations of her family, friends, schools, support workers. Her heart will soar when her child smiles, and frolicks and plays and laughs with other kids or parents, or friends.
The same people who judge in silence.
I love ALL my kids beyond reason, beyond the level I ever thought possible. It is mind-blowing. I do though, have a very special corner of my heart for my Lincoln because I know our bond is just a little ‘more’ then the others and he might just possibly need me just a little more.
I still expect him to some day spread his wings and fly from our nest like the others but I think my tears might just be a tad more bittersweet. Happy Mother’s Day!