I want to confess something.
There are days I forget how completely and utterly overwhelming the early days were. I forget about days filled with Meltdowns that felt like they will never end. I forget how hopeless I felt for the first few years after the Bear was diagnosed.
And the reason I had forgotten, is that things do get easier. So much easier.
Ten years post diagnosis, it is now extremely rare that the Bear has a full blown Meltdown. She is articulate, she is rational and she is proud of who she is. If she is finding something hard, she can usually tell us and together we put steps in place that will help her cope.
She understands her Autism and she isn’t afraid to tell us or others when we get it wrong.
We know her triggers, and know how our life as a family needs to look in order to reduce those as much as we can.
And those accommodations are so much a part of our life that it is rare we give them a second thought.
There are times of course – as with any of us – when things don’t go to plan. But on the whole life is good.
Yet it wasn’t always that way.
There was a time those triggers were not always predictable, her Meltdowns harder to stop in their tracks, her emotions so big that they overwhelmed her frequently. A time when she didn’t yet have the vocabulary to talk about how she felt, or the understanding to explain what she was thinking.
Life was hard. For us as people who love her. But more importantly for the Bear.
There are days I felt so lost, that honestly I didn’t know what to do. Days when I looked at the strategies we had in place and wondered if any of them were helping her at all.
Because the truth is things didn’t get easier overnight. And often they got even harder before they started to get easier.
But they did get easier. Slowly but surely. One step at a time.
Over time skills are learnt, both by us and our Bear, that built understanding. We learnt triggers. We learnt to adapt.
We became a team.
A team who understands inside out what it takes to make life work, to make life good.
Because good is possible.
Good has happened.
And it will for you too.
I want you to remind yourself of that. Each and every day. Especially on the ones that are hard.
Because one day, your little one will find things easier, and so will you.
One day you will remember the joy, the hard parts will fade.
One day things will seem so much brighter than they do today.
I promise x