Saturday, April 8, 2017

Rediscovering my lifeline

I’ve been kind of out of the loop for a while, off the radar, taking a break from the thing I love to do most in this world…write. Part of it has been our amazingly crazy life the past year (more to follow), some of it has been lack of clarity.  I’ve had people message me and ask when I was going to write again. Family and friends have stopped me and asked me why I wasn’t writing. The truth is, I just didn’t have it in me. I am out of practice, but I am going to force myself do it again. I need to. It is what makes me happy and keeps the small amount of sanity I have intact. Bear with me because the writing might be subpar at best.

Here goes…

In 2012, my hubby unexpectedly lost his job. We had just finished remodeling our kitchen and family room of our older home. We had hung the final pictures on the wall on Tuesday evening and by Friday afternoon, he was looking for jobs. Soon we found ourselves uprooting our family to Denton, Texas from Indiana. We started a brand new life. It was difficult. We were away from family and friends and our support group. It was hard. I was alone in a big city. My hubby was working crazy hours. Our kids were trying to adjust. I knew no one. Having a child with Autism made this even more difficult. He was angry about moving. He was struggling making new friends. He was almost 12, so the hormones were in full swing. There were days I just didn’t know how I was going to make it. I was trying to hold it together for my kids and my hubby. Putting on a brave face for everyone around me.

In March of 2013, my husband came home to find me still in my PJs for the third day in a row and he said, “Maybe you should start writing again…” This in a nutshell meant I think you are losing your shit, so maybe you need to do something so you do go over the edge, so I did it. By the next afternoon, I had started my Sassy Aspie Mom blog. I had figured out Twitter and Facebook and Blogger and posted 3 things. For the first time in a very long time, I felt alive. Don’t tell my husband this, but he was right!

Writing has been a way for me to stay connected to those around me, especially parents going through similar life experiences. Being the parent of a child with Autism can be very lonely. You learn very early on that your child’s accomplishments and goals are going to be different, and that is okay. It isn’t easy, however, to fit into the conversations of the parents around you. It can be isolating. I found that by writing my blog, I suddenly opened my world to a group of people with the same hopes and dreams for their children, but who also understood the stresses and concerns of raising a child on the spectrum. Suddenly, I found that people were reaching out to me to find out how I handled certain situations…the initial diagnosis, school, medications, bullying, telling the child about their diagnosis. I was able to help in small ways to make those parents feel less lonely, less scared, and less isolated, by talking about my own experience. The feeling was mutual.

As parents of children on the spectrum, it is really important to remember that we have to have our own lifelines. Talking to others, reading a book, taking a walk, getting a massage, journaling, writing a blog…whatever brings you back to center, has to be part of your routine or you will lose yourself. It is not selfish, it is essential to a life full of taking care of others.