As time goes by and I become more accepting with our diagnosis, I realize that even more so now, I am his advocate, his voice, his protector, his champion. Yes, as a mom I was already all of those things, but now….now if I fail….well that is not an option, this is now my mission. One I can’t fail at, one I won’t fail at. I have come to realize our diagnosis is a path that was opened to us and while there are a ton of hills on this path, it’s a pretty amazing adventure. I have also realized that I say “our diagnosis” because at the end of the day, it really is OURS. It affects Logan, it affects me, and it affects Kolten. We are a package deal, if it happens to one, it happens to all. We all have to deal with the crazy that accompanies Kolten. Now, who knows if some of the things that happen (like Kolten undecorating the tree while Logan sobs that Kolten hates Christmas) are age related or if they are autism related…only time can tell. We are all going gluten free, because it is best for Kolten. We are a family, we will stick together in this journey, we will meet every challenge as 3 against 1. There is nothing that together and with Christ that we cannot overcome.
While nothing has changed, everything has changed. I have become ultra protective of anyone I perceive as treating Kolten differently. I find myself angry at kids who are older but not treating him kindly. I have to breathe and remind myself that a 5, 6 or 7-year-old, doesn’t really understand and aren’t being mean because he is autistic…they are simply being kids, even if that includes being mean. I want to be able to protect him, like any mom does, from any hurt in the world. I want kids to be kind and realize everyone has differences. I wish I could shield him from the rudeness, ignorance, and meanness that he is going to face a million times over in his lifetime, but I know I can’t. What I can do, is teach him to be kind, to teach him to teach others. This is a challenge I want to accept.
I have to remember that his diagnosis is not an excuse, it is truly a challenge. There are days that the challenges are hard and many and I want to quit…but the days that aren’t challenging…the days he finally masters something is such a joyful day with an amazing victory. Today was a KinderMusik day. Most days, we maybe make it 20 minutes, if it’s an amazing day, we make it 30 minutes. Today, though, today we lasted the entire class. As class was coming to an end, there is a song that is played, where I hold Kolten and just rock with him, I found my eyes filling with tears and saying so many prayers of thanks and of joy. It took 3 full months to make it through one class, but this was the sweetest victory. I know it sounds irrational and silly to be so overjoyed that he survived a 45-minute class, but it was and is a huge accomplishment.
I have come to accept that most things are not going to come easy or be without massive trial and error, but I have also come to realize that the joy that comes in the ordinary victory is worth every hard day. It’s Kolten saying “got it” or “hey” or each day trying harder and harder to speak. It’s the joy and peace of an easy and gentle bedtime…something that had not occurred in 2 years and 8 months, but that this last 3 weeks of sleep has been nothing short of an answered prayer.
The challenge I face, unsure on how to go forward, is how to teach two polar opposite kids how to obey and trust in God. I try not to even think about Logan going through the Autism clinic, I try not to fathom both boys on the spectrum…and two kids that couldn’t be more different than night and day on the spectrum. One ultra verbal with a ridiculous great memory and huge vocabulary and one who doesn’t speak…I am not sure what will change if the answer is yes, Logan is a spectrum kid. I am not sure my emotions or brain can fully process that thought or fully understand what that will mean, but I do know this. We are going to have a million struggles in front of us, regardless of what we do. Kolten is such an amazing and challenging kid. His smile lights up a room and his laugh is pure and gentle. His kisses and hugs will melt your heart. Logan is smart and inquisitive and very observant…too observant….and loving and kind. They are my challenge, my joy, my mission.