By Jeanie, Reinventing Mommy
I’ve made some changes over the past couple of weeks. I’m spending more time on my writing, trying to make some things happen.
I’ve also gotten my hair cut, a move that the majority of my family may or may not approve of once they see it. It actually aged me a bit, which is good, because I’m a lot older than I look. And yes, I’m typing that with a smile. I know I’ll appreciate my “baby face” when I’m in my 60s.
It had been a while since my hair was this short, since the days at my 9 to 5. Once Jack was born and throwing up all over me on a daily basis, I figured that no hair cut could hide the vomit stains on my clothes and the sour milk smell that hung heavy in the air around my person.
Ironically enough, I think that Jack is really confused by it. For example, take this exchange from when I picked him up at school yesterday:
Me: “Hi, Jack!”
Jack: No response, no eye contact.
Me: Trying to prompt him – “Jack says, ‘Hi, Mmmm…’”
Jack: “Hi, Ms. (his private OT’s name)!”
Me: “Nope, I’m not Ms. (OT). Try again. Jack says, ‘Hi, Mmmm….’”
Jack: “Hi, Ms. (his preschool teacher’s name)!”
Me: “No, I’m not Ms. (preschool teacher). Jack says, ‘Hi, Mommy!’”
To which Jack looked at me for the first time in this whole exchange, with a look that said, To hell you say! You’re not MY Mommy!
Yeah, that wasn’t my intent by making changes.
Ultimately, I’ve decided that I needed to do some things for me – to make me happy. I need to discover who I am and what I like and want out of my life.
As a means of getting to that goal, I’ve started running again. I used to run when I was younger. Really, my neighborhood is the perfect place to run. It is very hilly around where I live, but my neighborhood sits on a rare oasis of perfectly flat ground. The main street actually loops around the neighborhood, serving almost as a track, if you wish.
I had not gone running since before I got pregnant with Jack, which was in 2008. Once Jack was born, he always had so many needs that it seemed like running was more of a hassle. I thought about getting a treadmill, but they’re just so damned expensive.
That and I far prefer to run outdoors. I like the feeling of the wind on my face. I like the fresh air and the smells of the grass, the various blooms of the season, and the smell of rain as it is coming in.
Much to my neighbors’ confusion, the time you will always see me running is in the rain. I adore running in the rain. As long as there is no thunder and lightning, I don’t let a little thing like precipitation get in my way. I love feeling the rain roll down my skin. I love the slight chill as the wind lashes against my wet skin. I love the solitude, the peace, of the rain. It is so cleansing, as though the rain just washes away all of your cares, your concerns, and your fears.
I can do some of my best thinking in the rain. I basically write out a piece in my head while running. It gives me a chance to really examine myself. What do I like? What do I want? These are questions I’ve never really asked myself, but I feel like I should after all of these years of being so concerned by the answers others would give. Now, I actually am starting to care about what I have to say.
I’m probably happier now than I have been in years…and yes, that’s with an autistic child. He has a long way to go, but he’s made great progress and I feel like we’ve got the right combination of therapies with the right therapists and we will continue to see progress as he continues to work with them in the years to come. I feel confidence in that. I have proven to myself multiple times that I – and I alone – can fight for Jack and make things happen for him. That has been so empowering. I am doing some things just for myself that make me feel good.
You may look at Jack and some of the issues I deal with on a daily basis and feel either sympathy or sadness, but don’t. I’m at a point where autism is just a “normal” part of my life and, even though some days are harder than others, for the most part I just deal with things as they come and make the accommodations I need for him. Sure, it sucks at times when I see what he can’t do (evaluation time comes to mind), but then I remember how far he’s come.
And I helped get him there.
It’s the same with running in the rain. You might look at me out of your window and think, That poor woman! She’s soaked! She must be miserable! However, if you looked at my face, you’d see a smile as I think about how far I’ve come.
Jeanie is a former engineer turned stay-at-home wife and mom to an amazing 3-year old little boy on the autism spectrum. After her only child was diagnosed at 24-months with autism and an alphabet soup of special needs, she began to write about life parenting a very young child with special needs with honesty, optimism, and as always, a touch of humor. You can find Jeanie at her regular blog, Reinventing Mommy (http://reinventingmommy.blogspot.com/).
This post was originally published HERE and used with permission.