Let’s face it, as a parent of an autistic child, some days are better than others. Being a caregiver to any child brings with it unforeseen challenges. But, a relationship with an autistic child brings with it its own gifts including perspective, wisdom, faith and love.
Last night was one of those 'not so great' moments. Not because Natalie suffered a meltdown or because she had a bad day at school. It was because my husband had a weak moment, and to see my strong guy hurting, is too much for me to bear.
After dinner, Natalie wanted to play with her Play-Doh Ice Cream maker (her favorite toy at the moment). Hubby and I were having some fun, making some cool ice cream. We are always talking to Natalie and trying to engage her. We ask her questions and try to get her to make choices, "Natalie, would you like the pink Play-Doh or the blue Play-Doh?" as we hold the two up by our eyes. This establishes eye contact and gives her the opportunity to make a choice. She usually does well with this. But last night, we could not get her to respond to us. I was okay and continued to play but Allan kept at it, trying to get her attention and asking her questions. However, Natalie was very quiet and in her own world. I looked up at my husband and his eyes caught mine. He looked so sad and said, "I just want to hear my baby talk" .....I died......
My "rock" the one who is always so strong.....in that moment, he broke and I was broken, with him. In response, I cried and said, "I want to hear her voice too!" Then...silence. We said nothing more to each other after that. I felt horrible and even now, I can't take that teary eyed look he gave me out of my mind. I felt so sorry for him...I felt sorry for us, and I felt sorry for Natalie too.
But today is a new day and I feel differently because I remember that it is my honor to be Natalie's mommy. Last night we had a weak moment. But guess what? We get to witness a miracle every day. For example, Natalie calling me 'mom' again after a year filled me with joy.Natalie waving to a complete stranger in the supermarket blows my mind! Natalie randomly approaching another child in order to play causes me to dance in celebration and seeing her run to her big brother to give him a kiss is the most beautiful thing ever! See, for me, all those little “normal” things,other parents take for granted every single day, are the highlights of my life. I was given the most wonderful little girl I can imagine and I was given the gift of time with an early diagnosis to help her out of this. That’s what I love about my Natalie, she makes me realize the joy in every single little moment, in every single little action of her life… and mine. I feel honored and glad that she is mine and I am grateful that she was given to me instead of someone who would not love and care for her as much as I do.