Monday, October 8, 2012

Life Pre-Autism

I found this picture while I was cleaning today. It was taken about 8 1/2 years ago while my grandmother was visiting. She wanted a family picture. I tried to tell her I didn't think we could really get my kids to sit and take one, but she insisted. At that time, autism wasn't a term I knew anything about. This is life pre-autism. Not necessarily pre-autism symptoms. Just the label of autism. All the trials were there, though I had no name for them at that time. In the background of the original pre-cropped picture you can see around the corner into my boy's room. You could see that there were toys and things laying everywhere. This was because Bubby used to disassemble his entire room everyday, several times a day. He emptied every shelf and every drawer. I would clean it up and the next day he did it again. This was my reality. I knew he was a handful. No one would watch him. Every sitter would call my husband and I before we were even finished eating while out on dates. They could not deal with his energy and his fits. He was likened to the Tasmanian Devil on Looney Toons. I would agree with that assessment at that time. I learned that I could not trust others with my high spirited little guy, because they thought he just needed some discipline. Relatives were not nice to him, as they thought him to be spoiled. Beans is laughing and Bubby is screaming. Bubby screamed all.the.time. We have very few photos of him before the age of 5 where he wasn't screaming. Beans was pretty happy most of the time, regardless of what was going on around him. His mood was not determined by environment. As a matter of fact, as he grew I noticed that he didn't respond to much in his environment, at all. In this moment, this was my life about 1 year pre-autism. It was a quiet kind of chaos. You can see it in my face the way I am trying to hold it together through my exhaustion. It's a bit of a sad memory for me, as I wish I could reach out to the younger me in the photo. To let myself know that my kids are different, but okay. That I was different, but okay. That I was not the failure I feared myself to be. My confidence was shaken by what I didn't know and didn't understand. I wish that I could have gotten some of the support I needed back then. That's why I try so hard to do as much for the autism community as I can. I want to help other young parents out there that are as lonely, and scared as I once was. All parents deserve a place to go where they can get the answers and support they need.