Today is #worldautismawarenessday and while I was about to post my church experience yesterday but changed my mind, today is the perfect day to do just that.
So, yesterday, I took my little prince to Easter Mass, the first time I’ve ever done so. In fact, it’s the first time I’ve brought him with me to Sunday mass after the last time when he was toddler when he screamed his head off during the service. So it’s been quite a few years and after his last week at school which was punctuated by a lot of tantrums in class because he didn’t want to do the work or why did the teacher pick someone else to read out loud, I worried that he wouldn’t be able to behave himself at church.
Well, bite me because he behaved himself from the moment we walked in, sat down for the whole service until we walked out to him shaking the priest’s hand and wishing him a Happy Easter. He wasn’t dressed in his Sunday best—just sweatpants and a t-shirt because he cannot tolerate jeans or fitted slacks or worse, a shirt with buttons, not even a Henley which I love to see on him. But all that didn’t matter. He behaved himself and he can’t wait to go back next Sunday. In fact, tomorrow, we’re going to the rectory to sign him up for Bible school so he can take his First Communion.
My son was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder when he was 2-1/2 and since then, I’ve gone from full-on denial to semi-acceptance. Denial because I couldn’t believe anything was wrong with him and acceptance because I understand and accept he’s different but not less. Because of his diagnosis, I went from running a full-time massage practice and part-time teaching to writing full-time and seeing clients only one morning a week.
Writing full-time allows me to be there for him and even though it’s also meant huge changes to my income—my writing income, which has been going well the last year and a half, has gone down considerably overnight starting March, and judging from yesterday and this morning’s sales numbers, it looks like it’s going to be the same for April—I still wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’ll adapt and roll with the punches and be there for him.
There are still many things I need to do to get him the best support possible and there, I am not doing so great at. I’m terrible at time management (like I should be filling out forms instead of writing a blog post lol) but I’m trying. This week, while he’s on Spring Break, we’re going to tackle his pile of toys together so we can give them to charity. We already did that for his clothes since he doesn’t wear anything with buttons or denim although he’s starting to become more self-aware. He wants to look good so maybe that’s a good incentive.
It’s a journey and so far, so good.