Caleb's first 4 years of life seemed to be a constant battle against failure for him. He wasn't potty trained, couldn't speak, had many (and huge) meltdowns everyday, ran away if you took your eyes off him for a second. The feeling of failure was constant, and unrelenting.
When Caleb was around 3 years old, I told my husband I thought we should send Caleb away somewhere....I didn't really know where, I just felt that he was too much for us to deal with, and that he would be better off somewhere else.
Luckily, in my moment of feeling like a complete failure, my husband took over, and told me to be alone for a bit. I can't remember what I did, or where I went to clear my head, but I know that I realized God had given Caleb to us for a reason, and I wasn't going to quit. Even if I did feel like I was going to loose my mind....
Since then, we have had many high moments, and many low moments. Times of one step forward, ten steps back....but overall, the general feedback we are getting from people, and what we are seeing in Caleb, is improvement. A more steady, upward turn in his behaviour, speech, social interactions, emotional awareness, and independence (dressing himself, etc.). He has fewer meltdowns, talks more (even if it is still 90% echo from movies, etc.), is doing really well in school, and generally seems to be moving in the right direction.
However, with these improvements come bigger disappointments because we are seeing that he is capable of more. By doing better, he is moving the scale by which we judge "doing better" on.
Last weekend Caleb went to a hockey game with my husband. Caleb has been to hockey games in the past, and (although he is loud) he is always on good behaviour. However, at this game he turned back into 4 year old Caleb.
He wasn't listening, was running away if my husband took his eyes off him for one second, was getting into peoples faces and yelling at them to give him skates, and just being a terror.
Yes, we know he has autism, and we should be more understanding (and maybe not call him a terror...). Set backs hit us hard though, and send us reeling and wondering if we're about to travel down a road with trouble at every corner, and where we re-adjust our "doing better" scale to a lower mark.
The failure I feel as a parent of a child with autism is like a presence in our house....one that follows me around, and reminds me of everything I should/could have done better. It points out regressions in Caleb that (I know) aren't my fault, but it convinces me they are....
It is a troubling feeling, one that keeps me up at night wondering if we're taking Caleb in the right direction, if we're teaching him everything he needs to know to become a decent human being who is kind and loving and can contribute to the world (in big or small ways).
The thing about failure is that I am learning to look at it and see it for what it is. Either A: a temporary set-back, B: a battle that needs serious attention, or C: as something I have to walk away from.
I still have days where I want to give up on Caleb (it's not nice, but it's true), but I am seeing more everyday that the failures of my son, of my own, of people in my life who I love or love me, are all moments that I can stop and evaluate myself, my motives, look at where I'm going, and let the failure become something to give me more strength and determination for what is ahead.
Good or bad.
Hi, I'm Amy-Lyn!
I am the lady behind this here blog! I live in the sticks with my animals, my super handsome husband, and my
3 amazing kids!
Here you'll find things from recipes (gluten-free, paleo, and strait up junk food!), DIY ideas, thoughts on raising a son with autism, and whatever else pops into my brain! : )
Read more about me by clicking here!
Want to Stay Connected?