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Monday, May 7, 2012

Struggling With Labels

I don't generally like labels, especially the ones where society tells us what to think.  Like she's "overweight" that means she's lazy.  Or she wears Gucci, so she has money, and he wears Faded Glory from Wal-Mart so he must be poor.  When the truth is, I actually know someone with six figures in the bank that prefers Faded Glory because he doesn't want people to know what's in his account.  Or the woman who goes to the second hand store, but will only get "name brand" because her children and friends can't know she doesn't have the "name brand bank account."

For years labels have meant nothing to me.  And then my child received a label.
 It hurt, oh did it hurt.  I have gone a month or so not speaking about it, not talking about it, just talking around it.  Here I sit about a month later and I reflect back on that label and how it has affected our family.  It has actually helped, and now I wouldn't change it.  My son is borderline autistic.  There, with tears in my eyes, I said it.  Yes, autism.  It's not a deadly disease and no real reason to hide it.  I'm sure like most mom's, I went through the, what did I do wrong while I was pregnant? and the why him?  Truth is, because I AM strong in His eyes and I can handle this.

Now, there is definitely a part of me that is overwhelmed with joy that he is not fully autistic.  I know that may sound bad and for that I'm sorry.  The looks he gives me, the hugs, the kisses, I would have none of that if he was Autistic.  The main struggle with autistic children is their eye contact and emotions.  There is no problem there and for that I am so thankful!  If I could twitch my nose like Bewitched, would I change him?  Would I make him "normal?"  Honestly, no I wouldn't.  He is "normal", normal for AJ, normal for the son I've known his whole life.  That doesn't mean I don't struggle.  Everyday is a struggle.  A struggle to do "normal" things.

I can't alter his schedule or the next three days are really bad days while trying to fix that schedule.  By alter I mean, go places, do things during a time he would normally nap or eat.  Such as the Birmingham Zoo on a Wednesday and then that Friday to the circus, when he still wasn't back to his schedule from the Zoo.  He does well at home with me and the family and our "talks" seem to help him understand.  He's not dumb or "slow" and I think a lot of people don't understand that about children with autism.  They are actually some of the brightest and smartest children, they just process it differently in their brains.  My son is going to speech therapy to learn sign language because he can't communicate verbally.  Do you think they would try to teach a child that was "slow" sign language at the age of twenty months?  I don't.  He is signing and saying "no" and signing "yes."

Reflecting back, I see how strong it has made our family.  We have a bond that a family full of "normal" kids may never have.  We have an understanding now, that family is first no matter what.  We always thought we put family first, but now it's about our family and how our family interacts with each other.  I've never been the over reactive mother that says something is wrong with her child or wants something to be wrong with her child, so I never really discussed issues with his doctor wanting a diagnosis or a "miracle" pill.  It just happened all at once.  Now, my goal is to help our son and our family learn how to help AJ.  My number one goal is not to go the medication route.  Now, that is my personal preference and not saying anything about anyone who's children are on medication.  Again, my Alex is BORDERLINE not full blown autism.  

The calmness of our house is unreal as opposed to the chaos it use to be.  Alex has his good days and his bad days and, well, I have mine too.  I have developed patience that I never knew I had.  Alex may never be societies "normal," but he's normal for Alex.  And he's normal for my son.  I love him the way he is and cherish every eye contact, every smile, every hug, and every kiss, that he gives me because it could be SO different.  As for my life, it may not be what I dreamed it would be growing up, but it is what it's supposed to be and I LOVE it!


  1. what a beautiful post, I had to wipe a many tears as I read. found you on the Sunday sip and going to follow your blog now babe.


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