Welcome to my blog about our family’s life with autism. Before we get into too much else, I feel a bit of an introduction is needed.
Who am I? I have struggled with this question over the years. What is my contribution to this world? What am I suppose to do with the rest of my life? Who am I? I am a middle aged mother of three wonderful sons. I am a wife to my wonderful husband Steve. I am the keeper of everyone’s schedules. I am the chauffeur, I am the short order cook. I am the one who remembers when medicines get sent to school, I am the one who deals with doctor’s appointments, I am the one who schedules the IEPs and meetings with the case manager,. I am an autism mom. Our middle son, Brandon (who is now 20), is on the autism spectrum. His autism leans towards the severe end of the spectrum and he certainly keeps our life busy. More about him later. I want to continue introducing you to me and my family, because we do this together.
What makes me think I can write a blog about autism? The #1 reason….I live the life of an autism mom every single day. It is hard. It is exhausting both mentally and physically. It is sleepless nights and days filled with obsessions that he can’t figure out how to stop and behaviors he seems powerless over. It is constantly searching for balance for the whole family. But it is also a life I wouldn’t trade for anything else. I am proud to be mom to all my boys. They all have their unique personalities and gifts they bring to our family. Am I an expert on autism? No, well maybe. But I am an expert on my son and how he has changed my life.
Where did I come from? I was raised in a small town in deep south Illinois. I went to college in northern Illinois where I graduated with a degree in Psychology. My first job out of college was working with adults with disabilities. I did that for the next 22 years with three different agencies with three different philosophies. I met my husband, Steve, in 2004 (after my first husband and I divorced). Steve was a widower and a single parent to two boys, Brandon (5 y/o at that time) and J (2 y/o). I was a single mom to A (7 y/o). Long story short, we fell in love, got married in 2005 and I legally adopted Brandon and J and Steve adopted A. And then we started our life together.
When did life become so involved and confusing? Honestly, I think it was when my boys started growing up. They became teenagers…all of them. Brandon’s behaviors changed and morphed over the years and because he has limited verbal skills, it’s hard to know what’s what. And of course, my other sons changed and morphed also (and they are quite verbal). Our marriage went through changes, regression and growth. We’ve dealt with the death of a very loved grandfather, the illnesses of other grandparents, us choosing for me to stay home and take care of things here, and the constant changing of the family dynamics. And we have done it together. All of us.
How did I get here? Good question. The answer? With the help of my family, friends, and my ever supportive husband. I am a mom. I am also an autism mom. They go hand in hand in everything I do. And I feel that I have something real and honest to share. I am terrified of putting myself and my family out there for all to see. But, I want to. We always try to find the humor in our house. There are times when this is really challenging, because it can get very dark and the feelings of aloneness can come out. We have done things well. We have screwed up other things. We have been through highs and lows and I feel ready to share some snippets of our life.
Welcome to my Auroma of Life.