I always wondered what my career would be when I got older, you know, reached adulthood. I went to college to become an Agriculture Education Teacher. I was 21 years old and did not take to high school children very well. That career lasted 1 looonnnggg year. That summer I worked at a residential treatment center for emotionally disturbed children. I loved that job. It was hard and the pay sucked. But, the pay was better than working at a fast-food place. I met alot of great people. I met even better children. I quit that job after 5 years. I became disillusioned by the fact that they sent these children home after insurance ran out. They sent them back to the people who caused their problems in the first place.
Now, what do I do with my life? Ah, I will go apply to work at a hotel reservations center. I am only 26 years old. I have plenty of time to find my place in life. Don't I?
I worked for the reservations center for 2 years. I was promoted 3 times. I became liked and respected there. I had the opportunity to go far. But, I still had an itch to scratch. I wanted to live in New York City. I always lived in Texas. I needed to fly. I had no boyfriend, no children. What was stopping me? A job maybe ?
I flew to NYC and landed a job in one week. At the largest hotel in Manhattan. I started on the bottom at the age of 27. I worked my way up to floor supervisor. I made great money. For 2 years I lived in Manhattan and was a true New York working Woman.
Then fate stepped in. On the elevator going to a New Year's Eve party, in the very hotel I worked, I met the man I would marry. I had just turned 29.
In less than a year I was married and pregnant. What can I say, I work fast. I was the happiest I had ever been. I decided to quit my job and stay at home with my new baby.
Enter new baby.....Screaming, wiggling, non-sleeping baby. I did not know what I was doing wrong. We went to the doctor often. Not easy going from Brookly to Manhattan with a screaming child on the subway. But the subway calmed her. I spent alot of time on subways, just to calm her down.
My father became terminally ill. We decided to move back to Texas. We drove half way across America in a UHaul. It was an amazing ride. America is gorgeous and the people we met were as generous and beautiful in every state we crossed.
Caitlin did not do much better as she got older. She became less social and still not a word came out of her mouth. Doctor after Doctor told us she would talk. We got tubes, no words.
Finally, at the age of 2 1/2, she was diagnosed with autism. AUTISM.
We had no money, no computer, and no idea what we were getting into.
We went to the big library downtown every Saturday. I read every book there was to read about AUTISM. They all said the same thing. THERE IS NO CURE. Damn......
As I read, doctors were saying that we should do nutrients. We should do B12 shots. We should change the diet to GFCF. We did try it all. Nothing worked.
As Caitlin grew, so did our family. It grew from 1 autistic children to 5 autistic children. All of them different. All of them uniquely their own. All of them AUTISTIC. In this mix is one "typical" child. Meaghan is so far from typical. But she is not autistic. She is social, funny, angry, flirty, comical, etc. She makes our family what it is.
Honestly, I would not change a thing in my life. I would do it all exactly the same. I would be a little neater, maybe..... But, now at least I know what I will be when I grow up. I will be the best mother, wife, friend that I can be. I will be an expert in Autism. I will be a leader in the autism community. I will show parent's of other autistic children that their world did not just end. It just began. Mine began at 30 years of age. I became a better person with autism. I became a better mother. I became a better me.
- I am the proud mother of 6 children. 5 of our children have autism. We do not feel our world has ended, but just begun. We do not chelate, intervene biochemically, give shots of any kind, practice ABA, etc. We treat them as we treat any humanbeing. We treat them with kindness and respect and expect the same from them. They are exceptional children.
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