So….technically it’s the day after Father’s Day now and I finally get to sit down and write about how much me and the boys love you and how much we think you’ve hung the moon, however, like most days reality happens to be that “it’s just another day” and for us a day with “stuff” that has to been done, lots of stuff and more than my tired mind really wants to explore or think back through right now. Since yesterday was your day and truly it got skimmed over as another day in paradise with lies, let me point out the things I noticed all the while your day was being used up on things out of your control:
- You (and NOT me) started off saving the day by hearing the wonder dog’s cry for a 911 call to nature!
- When I got up from bed the Tot was happily in your arms on the couch! (Not a big deal you say? So far, in 3 years of me waking up late after you and the kids on the weekends, I can almost always bet money that they are somewhere snuggled up to you or by you! Besides the Superhero himself, that would include 5 different foster children whom all felt very comfortable around you!) I think THAT speaks volumes for you as a dad!
- You found the misnamed cartoon that the Superhero has wanted to watch for days! (Yay! Finally, we can rid him of Teen Titians!)
- You fed both apples and M & M’s to the boys in the same ratio ~ good job balancing it all out!
- You kept up with how many stinky diapers were changed while I was at the grocery store like it was part of your chore chart! (Not necessary but your attention to detail was fab!)
- After cutting your finger to get the dog bone unstuck from the lawnmower, you stayed the distance and cut the grass anyway!
- Even after cutting the grass with the bandaged hand, you willingly rode the Tot up and down the street on the lawnmower…… because it made him happy!
- You helped the Hero with his homework, bathtime, and bedtime tonight! (Not to mention you washed the Tot too!)
- You planned a breakfast date with the Superhero and even told him about it yourself tonight at dinner.
There are other things to point out, I’ sure, but these are the ones that mean the most to us! Me, because I love you because you love and do for them so wonderfully! You do not get the full credit you deserve, you will not see that happen ….you know our life is full with busy hands that means me and you will get mad more than we will pass each other with smiles most days ……I think this is because we both want the same end results! Don’t worry Daddy Oatmeal ~ So many good things are happening for the Superhero, he’s growing and maturing by leaps and bounds and it’s exciting to be apart of it even when “tired” comes to mind first! I know the other worry you carry too “Evans party of 4” ~ I know you want to hear that sweet sound and know that it’s not going to change from one week to the next! I know this worry too! It is just around the corner! I believe that, I do! One thing I also know, we walk this together ~ as the unique parents that we are!
In the mean time I’ll keep dodging dog bowls if you’ll keep having a bad aim, Ha!
So when looking into the eyes of my son who will turn 10 years old this fall most people at first glance would not give a second thought to him having a disability. He is able to walk on his own, he can see, (even though he has a dx of Ocular Motor Dysfunction ), and does not need a device to get from place to place! I am thankful of this indeed, however, at times having an invisible disability can be hard for others to process just why he can be so “different, yet not less!” as Temple Grandin once said about the Autism community. It is human nature to have the attitude of “what can he/she do for me?” All too often these attitudes come very early in life although most parents never want to admit that their children have inherited this family trait and will quickly try to “right” a situation when little Johnny or Sally shows disrespect at the public playground! The question we really should all ask ourselves is how do we perceive ourselves to our children in everyday life that tells them how we truly value others …..both different and alike!
The first few years of our superhero’s life were all about uncovering why he had behaviors that often forced us to leave public places to calm him, if not avoid them all altogether! His poor vision, social skills, lack of communication and often complete anger and confusion eventually lead us to a proper diagnosis and thankfully, by 3 years old, there was a name for all of his puzzling ways: Autism! I actually felt relief and so did my husband when we heard those words from the team that reported the diagnosis! It was then that we could start towards a beneficial road to getting Connor the much needed help and therapy that was out there and available!
By summer time after the winter diagnosis of Connor’s autism, I had already quit my career and left it in the dust! My mission was set and I had no plans to look back ……and to be perfectly honest, our first encounter with our son’s school system was that there was much to be changed on how and what type of services were provided! It was clear that we would need to supplement a majority of the therapy he needed privately or fight the school right out of the gate on our first year with him as a preschooler? We instead hired an advocate whom already knew Connor and could speak openly at his IEP about his needs, (and she did just that!) The school met us half way, we were happy and we supplemented the rest privately both during the school year and in the summer months too!
Our routine has not changed much over the past 7 years except to say that Connor is pretty conditioned to being almost a year around student! He does get breaks during the summer but for every “Off” day he has a “school” day! The effort he has put into it has brought him light years from where he began …..at 4 years old he could not speak intelligible words! Now, he can speak with most skilled listeners understanding him about 80% of the time! Adults usually understand him more easily that his peers ….but it really ALL depends on IF the child wants to stop what they are doing long enough to TRY and understand what Connor is conveying to them!
Yes, it is true my child looks exactly like your child from head to toe but if I could just take you aside for a minute, you that mom or dad and say this: I need YOU to know these things that you and your child cannot see when looking at my child:
PDD-NOS (pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified.) ~ Autism.
Ocular Motor Dysfunction ~ the absence or defect of controlled, voluntary, and purposeful eye movement. People with this condition have difficulty moving their eyes horizontally and moving them quickly.
Dyspraxia ~ A disorder that can affect planning of movements and co-ordination as a result of brain messages not being accurately transmitted to the body.
Sensory Processing Disorder ~ A condition in which the brain has trouble receiving and responding to information that comes in through the senses.
Auditory Processing Disorder ~ A variety of disorders that affect the way the brain processes auditory information. Individuals with APD usually have normal structure and function of the outer, middle and inner ear (peripheral hearing). However, they cannot process the information they hear in the same way as others do, which leads to difficulties in recognizing and interpreting sounds, especially the sounds composing speech.
These things ….I know you cannot see them but they exist in our world! Our superhero battles them each and every day and I admit I sometimes forget all these terms and what they all mean because like ,YOU, I cannot see them either! But he battles through his day with all these things working against him and guess what? He STILL wants very much to befriend your child! How wonderful is that? He still puts a smile on his face and even with all these worries and struggles working against him…. he STILL bebop’s right down the street on his “off” days in the summer time looking for your child to play with because to him ….your kid’s the “best” and he just wants to be like him!
So PLEASE this is in no way a mom’s cry for pity, not even an ounce of it, it’s a cry for respect! My kid’s a Superhero, just like your Superhero!