This past May, my son Wyatt turned 5. In his five years, he has taught my husband and I so very much. Wyatt is a boy who happens to have Autism, it does not define him, but it’s definitely part of what makes him so special. Being his mother is such an incredible gift, and it’s something I’m grateful for everyday.
Have you ever met someone so special you felt honored to be in their presence? This is who Wyatt is to me. In his short five years, he’s worked so hard, overcome so much, and has helped me to become a better person. I wanted to share five things he’s taught me, and believe me, there are so many more things – but I’ll save the rest for a later time.
One | Always Love
Love will always pull us through the hard times. Wyatt is the most affectionate, sweet, loving child. If you’re sad, he’s there to hug you. When his brother falls to the ground, he’s always the first one to help him up. He even hugs the principal at his school when he sees her, he is just that loving. And after the appointment when his doctor confirmed that our suspicious were right, that something wasn’t right, and I felt like melting to the floor, he was there. At 18 months old, he was there for ME. His love will always be my reason for fighting to get him everything he needs, and then some.
Two | Always be Prepared
Family outings, even simple trips to the grocery store have to be prepped for. There is no grabbing my purse and running out the door. Social situations are sometimes a little overwhelming for Wyatt, which is why we have to have “back-up” items. Fidget toys, his chewie, a charged iPad, milk, the works, because we never know what we’ll need. Every time before we leave the house, we have to think of everything we could possible need, should a situation arise.
Three | Always be Flexible
When things don’t work out, just breathe and try to come up with another solution. There have been many days that haven’t gone as planned, and it’s easy to get caught up in the storm and let it ruin your entire day. Don’t. Be flexible. If your little one has a sensory meltdown in the middle of the grocery store and you can literally FEEL the eyes on your back, brush it off. You are doing the best you can, you cannot prevent meltdowns, but you can calmly leave the store and change things up. Letting go of the idea of perfection has been something I’ve struggled with for a long time, and being flexible to change the direction (a skill Wyatt has taught me), has been wonderful.
Four | Always Celebrate the Small Things
The small things always end up leading us to the big things. And EVERY accomplishment deserves to be celebrated.
For example, Wyatt started outside-of-school speech therapy a few weeks ago. We walk into the first visit on the first day and have to wait 15 minutes. Wyatt does not do well with waiting, so he started to run around the lobby. I was chasing after him, trying to guide him in the right direction, and to be honest it’s kind of comical looking back. Then, when we finally got into the appointment, he has a full-blown meltdown because he wanted to keep running around.
So after our first visit being unsuccessful, I consulted with friends and his teacher at school, and we came up with a plan for the next visit. We’d use a First/Then card. The “first” thing was speech, and the “then” thing was his ipad, his teacher went over it with him at school, and when I picked him up from school to take him to speech, he already knew that after his speech appointment, he’d be able to have something he really enjoys. And guess what, that next visit went GREAT!
Five | Always Choose to Rise Above
A lot of moments in days will be hard. But guess what? YOU GOT THIS. Being the parent of a child with Autism is no picnic, but it’s worth every moment.
You might not realize it now, but you’re working hard to help your child bloom and thrive. When you’re child is crying, when you’re crying, when you’re having a tough day, when you think you’re the worst parent on the planet, know that you will get through this. And, CHOOSE to get through it, together.
What is ONE thing your child has taught you?
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