Facing Reality – Sometimes We Only Act Strong

road

My son brought home a registration booklet for his junior year in high school. In two years, his peers will graduate and move on to start the next chapter of their lives. My son, on the other hand, will have to wait an additional three years. What will he think? Will he realize then just how ‘different’ he is from the others? Will he be hurt, sad?

Last night while lying in bed, I thought back to when I was pregnant with him. What a wonderful time that was. The excitement of having a baby to nurture and raise, filled my soul. Every little milestone, I looked forward to. Then, once he arrived into the world, he struggled to reach them. Why, I wondered. The answer – autism. Some milestones he’s still not reached.

He doesn’t understand what turning 16 years old means, nor what he’s supposed to be doing by this age. Neither do I. Even after being a mother for all these years, I really have no idea what it’s like to be one.

Unlike most moms, I’ve never heard my child call me ‘mom’, such as “Mom, look at this!” He’s never run to me crying, wanting to be held. As a matter of fact, he’s never run to me just wanting to be held. Never, not even as a toddler. Sometimes I would pick him up while he was sleeping, just so I could hold him.

I’ve never seen him jump around with excitement on Christmas morning or on his birthday. He never introduced me to his friends on the playground. He didn’t have any. I never got the chance to be annoyed by him for talking non-stop in the back seat of the car. He’s never told me about the “cool” thing he saw that day, or an event he was looking forward to.

Our conversations, when we have them, are choppy and sometimes exhausting, for both of us. He still struggles to speak in complete sentences and most of the time he can barely be heard. When reading, he still confuses his p’s, d’s and b’s. He can read big words such as ‘contemplation’ sometimes, but misreads simple words like ‘why’ and ‘want’.

Now he’s about to be in 11th grade. I can’t stop thinking that there is so much more I could have done to prepare him. More therapy, more time, more studying. Maybe we should have gone up to the mountains and become shut-ins for a couple of years, just so that he could study non-stop.

I’m afraid of failing him.

I usually act strong and like none of this bothers me. It does. A lot. Just as any parent would, I want him to enjoy all the things that life has to offer. He deserves that. He wants things in life, just like everyone else does.

He wants to have his own place, and get married. Yesterday, he said that he wants to go to college. He wants to be an architect. He has many dreams and goals, but will he reach them? For his sake, I hope so. I don’t want him to miss out on anything, but unfortunately he already has and likely he will again. That’s a fact of life that we have to face, whether we like it or not.

Over the years, I’ve watched him grow in leaps and bounds. My hope is that he will continue to do so, and that by the time he’s 21, he’ll miraculously be caught up. Nothing is impossible. We’ll work together as we always have, and be grateful for every ounce of growth along the way. No one knows what the future will hold. Anything can happen.

Regardless, I just want the best for him, his best. His form of success. Whatever makes him happy. Happiness, a smile on his face – that’s what I want for him.

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36 Responses to Facing Reality – Sometimes We Only Act Strong

  1. It is tough to be parent for a kid with handicaps and sometimes we get in doubt if we are doing the right for them, when they need more time to consume all new things. Try to see the autism as an introvert, just more introvert than mostly.
    Sometimes you can have the luck to wake them up, but they need to be ready and can’t stand being forced without they stress and freak out. Accept a big hug, you deserve it, it is tough to be you too.

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    • mewhoami says:

      I do often wonder whether or not I’m doing the right thing, and always think that there is more that I could do. We can always do more. But, you’re right that we have to wait for them. My son has broken down some walls in a day, whereas others are still strongly standing. They’re broken in his time, not mine. Thank you for your kind words.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. markbialczak says:

    I can tell that you’re doing the best by giving him unconditional love and support, Me Who, and he’s doing his best to show you his gratitude and love to the best of his ability. You’re an inspiration, my friend.

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  3. You are such a strong mom. I know sometimes you fake the smile, but hey – it’s all to get his smiles. Worth it. Hugs long and hard, babe.

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    • mewhoami says:

      Oh yes, I do fake it. 🙂 But, that’s part of what gives him encouragement and motivates him to grow. Being down about the situation all the time certainly wouldn’t help matters, but a smile does. Smiles always help, fake or not. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. My heart goes out to you. All any of us parents can hope for is that our kids end up happy and reach their best potential. Your post really opened up my eyes today. Sometimes I forget to be grateful for the little things, the things I often take for granted. Thank you for the reminder me. I wish the best for your son and love and strength to you as you support him on this journey of life. Motherhood sure pulls at the heart strings and your post has sure pulled on mine.

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    • mewhoami says:

      Those little things can easily be taken for granted. Not often do people look at their kid talking on-stop and be thankful that they’re at least talking. We all want what’s best for our children, and with work, patience and perseverance they’ll get there. For some, it just takes longer. Thank you so much for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. tric says:

    All parents feel they may have got it wrong and should have done things differently. I cant imagine how hard it is to see your child struggle to fit into this world. I have one friend with a boy, her eldest and only son, who is autistic. He has made huge strides over the years and last year he was 18 and got a place in a sheltered workshop and unit. He lives at home for now but he can in time move out into this place where he learns to be somewhat independent but supervised and has a job and money to manage.
    I hope your future holds peace and happiness for both of you. You definitely have nothing to worry about, every post I’ve ever read by you is full of the love you have for your boy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mewhoami says:

      How wonderful and inspiring it is to hear about that young man’s accomplishments and growth. It is certainly possible, and I hope the same for my son. We’ve been looking into him getting a job through the system where someone would shadow him. That will help him to gain the independence and responsibility he needs before transitioning (hopefully) into a ‘real’ job. I wouldn’t mind if he lived at home forever, but he wants to live on his own one day, so that’s what we’re aiming for. It’ll happen. I appreciate your kindness. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I hope you don’t mind, I am going to reblog

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  7. Reblogged this on anewperspectiveperhaps and commented:
    This really made me think long and hard about all the little things I take for granted. This is a beautiful post and I am grateful for the lesson today

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  8. Karaboo says:

    The love pours through your posts! Lots of hugs to you and your son!

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  9. April says:

    It sounds like you have enough love, and that is all we really need, isn’t it?

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  10. What a great view through the eyes of a mother….any mother really….so wanting the best for our children and being the one best placed to see all the things they can’t do yet and the work to be done. I know autism is a whole different world and I feel for the things you feel you’ve missed along the way….but I’m serious when I say I think all mothers have the worries you do, that we haven’t done enough, that they aren’t ready yet, that maybe they’ll never be ready……personally, I think you’re right on track. It’s a wonderful thing to have so much love for a child…..he’s actually quite lucky in my eyes to have a mother like you!

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    • mewhoami says:

      You’re right. All parents have these worries and each child has their own struggles. We all do the best we can and hope that our children will be be successful (in whatever way is fitting to them) and happy. Most of all – happy. Thank you very much!

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  11. In one sense your words sound so familiar to me, words that I have said or thought myself in regards to my own children. But not with your concerns or with your son’s struggles. But the worries of parenthood and doing right or doing enough, I get that. From what I read, I read an awful lot of love, and strength, in your parenting of your son.

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    • mewhoami says:

      Thank you, Colleen. 🙂 As parents we all want to see our children make it through life without struggles and setbacks. We may not be able to prevent them all, and we may mess us every now and then, but we can all strive to do our best. Parenting certainly isn’t easy, for anyone.

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  12. Wow! You sound like a wonderfully loving mom with lots of wisdom and insight. There are times we all have to “act as if…” As if we know what we are doing, as if we are happy when we are not, as if we are not afraid when we are.
    I have always marveled that God gives precious little children to us amateurs!
    Thanks for sharing so honestly!

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    • mewhoami says:

      We are indeed all amateurs. Parenting requires a lot of learning, and with each child being different, the learning never stops. There are many times when we have to put on a show to hide our feelings in order to protect and help those around us. It all pays off in the end though, when we see our kids smile. Thank you so much for your kind words.

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  13. L.O. says:

    This was a really deep and honest post spoken from the heart that only a mom can share! You may think you have not known what it is like to be a mom because you (in your eyes) have not experienced what society says moms should, but from what I have just read, YOU are the definition of a SUPER MOM and though your son may be a few years behind, it is evident you have built a STRONG young man.

    Embrace the fact that though he may not be at a level of understanding where society thinks he should be, that at his pace he is right where he needs to be when it comes to being a son. He brought you the registration book I’m sure with pride in his eyes. That right there shows that your strength (though you may feel diminishes at times, which is completely natural to all of us humans), has rubbed off on him.

    It takes STRONG women to raise UNIQUE children. Your son is UNIQUE and YOU are even more SPECTACULAR for standing there 100 zillion percent all of these years, rather than taking the easy way out of passing him off to others to care for him. I SALUTE YOU!! Strength comes in numbers and though many of us are here just virtually, no that you are not alone when it comes to sharing your world with us.
    ❤ BIG HUGS!! YOU ARE INSPIRING! 🙂

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    • mewhoami says:

      This comment put such a big smile on my face. Thank you! After reading all of these comments, I’ve come to appreciate even more the community we have here. I hope that I’ve taught him to be strong, as his life will certainly require him to be.

      When times get really hard, it’s easy to think about running away – in any situation. To stay and ride it is the hard thing to do, but so very worth it. I don’t think I’m super mom, but I sure am grateful to be ‘mom’. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Beautiful, letting him be who he is meant to be, as long as he is happy. I know that feeling have I done enough? I bet you have, and more. Being the parent of a child who is different can be so exhausting and all we want is for our kids to fit in somewhere and be happy. Life can be so complicated. I know for a fact with a mum like you he will be everything he is meant to be. Such an inspiring post. Lifted me up after a few days where my son had a rough start to school. I will keep fighting for him and hope he can catch up with the other kids too.

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    • mewhoami says:

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment. 🙂 It can be exhausting and each day brings new challenges, but as parents we must keep pushing forward. Our children are all so precious and deserve the very best that life has to offer. For them to be healthy and happy – that’s all we can really ask, right? They will find their own form of success, whatever it may be, and it’s our job to just be proud of them. I hope that your son catches up as well, and with you by his side, I have no doubt that he will.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks today Im think I would love more understanding from the outside world. People look at him when he is having a hard day and just don’t understand the anxiety. Thanks hope today is a good day for you and your son.

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  15. suzjones says:

    I had a conversation with a young man the other day. (I used to support him in his supported accommodation home). He was telling me he has a job and earns money now and grinned from ear to ear. To him it is one closer step toward independence and living on his own. Unfortunately, he is an orphan and doesn’t have the love of a wonderful woman such as yourself to support him on this journey. Your son is going to excel and blossom under your love and he will be the best that He can be. Bless you.

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