Having a child with autism is not unlike a rollercoaster ride - one where you are seated in the very last seat and cannot see in which direction you are headed until you feel it happening. There's no peering ahead to prepare yourself, you can only brace yourself for all the possibilities and hope you come out the other side without losing everything, including your ability to know which way is up.
There was a period of time, not so long ago, that I was finding it incredibly difficult to figure out which way was, in fact, up on a regular basis. But prayer and tons of support have lifted me to a much better place in all of this.
Today we had a very up, down, up, down, up, down kind of day and it was one of the more exhausting days that I've had with Seth recently. Sean had taken Joel (10) to the Allstate 400, so Seth was out of sorts because of that, as well. The DOWNs included not understanding why he couldn't go to the race with them; having to leave the neighborhood pool just 15 minutes after we arrived when the pool was closed due to a child POOPing in it, thus producing a scene of epic proportions that I don't wish to go into here; and getting violently angry with his two little best friends from next door when he wasn't winning their air hockey game.
But the UPs included going happily into his classroom at church this morning, having a very good lunch out with big brother Alexx after church, straightening up fairly quickly after the pool incident, and apologizing to his friends all on his own after treating them badly.
We've really become quite skilled in handling the ups and downs, the twists and turns of autism and all it throws at Seth (and in turn, us) on a daily basis. Basically, you prepare by reminding yourself that you are never going to be quite prepared enough. And as soon as you come to grips with that, you've got half the battle won. The other half? Well, you just keep fighting the good fight and hope that at the end of the day, everyone survived and Seth progressed a tiny bit more toward independent thinking, more evolved processing, and better handling of himself.
Oh - and it doesn't hurt to see a little faith in action. Seth ran up and handed me a note he had written all by himself. It said, "Geesus [heart shape] me" -- "Jesus loves me, Mommy!"
There is a lot of reality that he just doesn't grasp yet, but he gets the most important reality of all.