Walking With Drake

One Mother's perspective on autism.

Today I Cried

I didn't plan on crying today.  In fact, I rarely cry at all.  My husband and I talked about this very thing yesterday.  I internalize most of my feelings and try to stay cool, calm, and collected in almost any situation.

Today, I could not hold it in.

Just yesterday we had our very first appointment with a developmental pediatrician.  My husband and I left the visit feeling pretty good about the therapy and help we have in place for Drake.  We discussed his increasing anxiety with her and went over several other concerns.  She saw no need to change anything and was extremely trusting of our instincts as parents.  When we left I finally felt more at ease and assured that what we have in place for Drake is just what he needs at this point.  All in all, yesterday was a good day.

But, on the way to therapy this morning I started second guessing myself, AGAIN. Drake probably gets some of his worry and anxiety from good ole mama.  I started thinking about the future.  Something I urge you to try not to do, today has enough worry of its own. I'm sure a lot of parents can understand the never ending battle to quite your mind.  The uncertainty of the future is probably one of the biggest reasons autism parents have far more gray hairs then the majority of the population.  This morning I was thinking about Kindergarten ( something I worry about often).  What we have in place now is working for Drake.  The thought of altering that in any way scares me.  Keep in mind, we have over one year until I even need to think about Kindergarten.  Trust me, I know I need a swift kick in the butt. I worry too much.  None of this made me cry.

I didn't cry because I am worried about Drake.  I didn't get in my car and totally lose it because he has such a long road ahead of him. Today, I cried tears of complete joy. I don't think I have ever cried so hard and so long over something that made me so happy.

Earlier today I met with Drake's preschool teachers. I went into the meeting knowing what to expect. I knew Drake was doing well and I felt pretty confident that his days were mostly good, especially considering a therapist is with him each time. I was expecting to hear a few good things, but I was also expecting to hear about the delays.  I walked through the doors of that school with my wall totally up.  I was prepared to hear all of Drake's weaknesses and a few of his strengths.  What I didn't expect was two teachers looking at me with tears in their eyes, telling me how amazing my little boy is.  I can hardly type, even now, without my eyes filling with tears.  I am a happy, blessed, emotional mess today. I felt so blessed to be Drake's mama.  I honestly do not know what I did to deserve him.  Autism is hard.  Autism makes me worry about the future.  But despite any worries, fears, hardships...I am so extremely blessed that God gave me this child.

These wonderful teachers,  who just met Drake in September,  told me over and over how wonderful my child is.  They were not just saying these things because he has autism.  It was honest, raw,  and heartfelt.  Ms. Marsha told me several times how much she loves Drake.  He has exceeded any of their expectations and is almost completely on target. The more they spoke the more I felt that familiar tightening of my throat. It was all good, so good to hear. The kind of words that make you feel like you are on a movie set and what you're really hearing isn't real.  Yet, this was as real as it gets. The wonderful things they said about my child are still playing through my mind:  "He may not be able to talk, but his facial expressions speak volumes."  "He listens better than a lot of other children in the class." "He stays on task and works hard and his play skills have increased."" He is sweet, animated, loving, and a joy to be around." These are just a few things she said about my sweet boy.

She emphasized several times how the other kids do not notice any differences with Drake. They approach him and talk to him,  and in turn he listens and understands.  She told me that Drake being in this class with 11 other typically developing children is helping them. Not only is Drake being helped, but he is helping the other kids.  Drake is teaching them to be understanding of differences.  These children treat Drake as one of their peers and friends.  It is all so beautiful.

The above documentation is a mock IEP of sorts.  Drake is currently enrolled in a private preschool, so we are not dealing with actual IEPs at the time.  I love the scores and comment, but  what makes me cry is the joy I saw on the teacher's face as she talked about how well he is doing. That's the good stuff. The kind of stuff that gives you chills and makes you "nasty" cry.  The very stuff that has left me feeling at peace, happy, and so exceptionally blessed that God made me Drake's mama.  

I truly believe he is doing so well and exceeding all of our expectations because he feels empowered by the phenomenal support system he has at therapy, school, and home.  So many people love my child and I'm so thankful they do. 

...rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer-Romans 12:12

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