Tuesday, July 15, 2014

How is your Marriage?

I watched a new documentary today about Autism on Netflix. For me it was nothing I didn't know already. The tears came as I watched other families struggle with daily life. Something stuck out to me as I watched each family's story. The same question kept popping into my head, I wonder how their marriage is?

Marriage is hard enough with the ins and outs of compromise and patience and love. I remember such optimism for me and my husband's future. I knew who I was at the time and loved who we were together. We had goals and we had dreams. It's been 12 years since then. A short time really, but I feel that our relationship has been pulled and stretched till it doesn't remotely look as it did in the beginning and it certainly doesn't look like our hopes and dreams.

It is a new and different thing, forged in the fires of success, failures, no sleep, fights, Autism, ADHD, therapy, and the list goes on. My mind is coming to wrap itself around  who we have become. We are the parents of children with ASD. My worry is that that has become the only thing that defines us. It overshadows everything else in our life. ASD doesn't pick and choose the things it affects, it affects everything.

I watched the parents in the film and I saw such dedication to their children. But I felt myself wanting to ask them, do you still make time for each other? Is your relationship based on anything else besides the mutual desire to help your child? Is there anytime for love and defining yourself as a couple? I needed to know this because some days I am so overwhelmed with being the caretaker I forget that I am also a person, a wife, a companion.

So here is to trying to be better at being more than a mother of children with ASD. I am a wife to a man that I find very interesting. I will talk to him more about things besides our children. I will engage him in the things that brought us together in the first place, like sports and music and books.I will look for new things that we can do together to enrich our relationship. For when I sat back and thought about those couples more, I realized that the best thing we can do for our children with ASD is give them happy parents.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

You've got Mail....... ANXIETY delivered.

I have always been a social creature by nature. I love interacting with people. One on one, groups, phone calls, texts, and emails. You name it I love it..... usually. It's been about 5 years since I haven't felt some anxiety when interacting with others in any capacity. My children's diagnosis has taught me to fear communication. That may sound totally opposite from what you would expect but hear me out. As Ike's and then Mike's journey with ASD/ADHD started I began getting phone calls, emails, and meetings about their behavior.

 "Mrs. Lambert we have had an incident in school......", "Mrs. Lambert we would like to set up a meeting to talk about....", "Mrs. Lambert we are afraid your son has......".  I feel like it is a million different conversations that end the same, your sons are the problem and we need you to fix it.  It would make anyone jumpy whenever the phone rings. I have developed a sixth sense for knowing its about my kids when the phone rings.

The hardest part is the fact I am usually helpless to do anything in the situation. Do they want me to sit next to  my children all day to make sure they aren't disruptive? Did it ever occur to them that my child might be reacting to the situation they have been put in? Conform, fit in that round hole. I have been kindly told by some that maybe home school is the answer. If I thought home school was going to give my children what they needed don't you think I would be already doing it?

I received that back to school email from the principal this week. All I felt was dread, even though the thought of two seconds to myself should have had me doing a happy dance. Will my kids succeed at school this year? Not if nothing has changed from last year. When you don't change the classroom situation but expect children to act differently because they are one year older, it's called  "beginning of school" optimism.

This year I will not cave in to it. This year is going to be different because they will work with me and help me create an environment that not just my children but all those near them will succeed in. It's what I tell myself every year at this time. It's my game time pep talk and it's what I do to survive.