Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Positive Things Can Happen Once You Accept Your Child's Diagnos-is/es

Yeah, I said positive things.  Don't roll your eyes, it can happen.  It's happened to me.  It's still a work in progress for me too.  Every day things that don't kill me, make me stronger.  You know as much as I do there are people out there that thrive on bringing others down, especially vulnerable people who have much to protect.

A wonderful autism mom had posted this question to the Autism Winnipeg Facebook Wall:

"What do you think is the best thing that has happened to you because your child was diagnosed with autism?"

Excuse me?!

Good question!  When I first read the question, I could have spat in the woman's face for asking it in the first place.  What the hell do you mean?!  All these appointments that I keep having to have in order to take care of my child's autism, the failure of being to teach him when I can teach adults from a foreign country 800 chemicals in their generic and brand names...  holly crap, yeah, I feel like I've failed my son...  Lets not forget the judging people all around me, telling me if I only disciplined Dayton better...  The teachers who have man handled my baby because my baby was not "complying."  My anger was getting seriously out of control, trying to remember where I stored the baseball bat from our summer play...  but then...  I thought about her question, and how my personality has changed since Dayton's diagnoses, for the better (yes, I know, how ironic since I was just looking for my baseball bat, right?!  Don't judge people, I'm sure you've all been there yourself).

I sat myself down after having a traumatic evening with Dayton being sick.  He came home from school, sat at the dining room table to eat his supper and wham!  Started puking like there was no tomorrow.  Now, I know I'm no master chef, but seriously kid, I do the best I can!  You've survived for ten years with my burned toast and charcoal soup cooking, you should have an iron stomach by now...

Sitting back with a nice glass of shiraz (teachers, educational assistants, school division, better than thou people - back away from the phone and DO NOT call CFS; they said I'm within my rights to live a normal life.) to settle the nerves AFTER Dayton was in bed asleep, I thought about this autism mom's question again...

Hmmmm....  Life before PDD-NOS (high functioning autism), ADHD, ODD, OCD, global developmental delays...  You know that Nytol commercial where the husband gives his wife the Nytol and tells her "it's like life before we had kids..."  and you see the woman waking up in the morning in a beautiful white bed with red rose petals and gorgeous hair?  Hmmmmm...  Life was really never quite that good, but man was it good!

Hair before Dayton...
Hair after...
Would you believe me if I told you that I used to be incredibly, painfully shy?  Well, I was.  I got fired from my first job as a waitress for it.  I had a really hard time speaking with men and pouring their coffee, the last coffee I poured was in some poor man's lap, but that's a whole other story.

Dayton's diagnoses cured me of that shyness...  Now I'm a loud mouthed red neck (with perfect teeth and good grammar, those things are really important to me).  A total change over my dear friends.  I say it like it is and be done with it.  No beating around the bush.  I either like you or I don't.  If I love you, I love you passionately.  I don't play games.  I tell you what I think, I yell at you if I think you've deserved it, and I cry when you hurt my feelings, sometimes right in front of you.  I am real, honest, sincere and have no edit filter.  I am what I am said Sam I am.  In order to advocate for Dayton and his rights, I've had to let go of that quiet, shy girl and become the suave red neck I am today.

I used to be afraid of pain.  Any kind of pain.  Emotional, physical...  I have a mutant gene that causes breast and ovarian cancer.  I didn't want to go through the pain of surgery and the embarrassment of a mastectomy; of not having nipples and be a road map of scar tissue and not be attractive to a man ever again.

Dayton's diagnoses changed all that.  I don't care if you don't like what you see, turn the other cheek.  My son taught me to survive, and live my life to the fullest.   Dayton's courage to deal with his own challenges gave me the courage and drive to be a survivor myself.  Besides, I wanna live to see my baby's babies.  Now I'm not afraid of pain, or piercings...  a whole other story.

Until last summer, I used to be a nice and sweet, never hurt your feelings kind of girl.  I'd give you the shirt off my back, even if it meant I would be exposed for all to see in my glorious embarrassment.  I always had put myself on the back burner and put everyone ahead of me.  I never wanted to disappoint anyone around me, even if it meant that to make others happy, I would be miserable.

Hmmmm....  Dayton's diagnoses did change some of this, but I'm still working on some of it...  I still care very much about peoples needs, but I've come to a limit of self preservation, which is a very important thing to do. Sometimes we can help others too much.  I need to remind myself of that.  Sometimes people take advantage of my good nature, which naturally ticks me right off.  I'm kind of going through that right now with my supposed best friend.  Um hum...  Not going there tonight.

I used to pity people with a handicap or disability.  Dayton's diagnoses changed that too.  I now have a respect and admiration for people with a disability.  They are my heroes...  How many times has a stranger said:  "I'm so sorry" when I tell them of Dayton's autism...  or well meaning friends "I don't know how you do it Lou..."  Well, how do you think Dayton does it?  How do you think the handicapped man across the street does it?  That's what's truly amazing, isn't it?  

Finally, I used to look at Dayton as a child.  Now I see him in a new light...  He's my teacher.  Dayton sees things in a whole different way, he thinks outside the proverbial box our employers continually beg us to.  He is  AMAZING...

So, I'm dying to hear...  I WANT TO KNOW, SO TELL ME:  What do you think is the best thing that has happened to you because your child was diagnosed with autism?

Consider yourselves hugged,


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