About 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.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

THE DAY HAS COME....

The day has come..the day that I thought would take forever to get here...
the day where I say..
"I am now the parent of an adult"...

When Caitlin was born 18 years ago...I remember making promises to her.
I promised to always love her and make sure she was happy and well-cared
for. I promised she would never need for anything. I promised her when she got
scared, I would do my best to comfort her.
I hope she feels that I have fulfilled my promises, and will continue to do so.

When Caitlin was diagnosed with Autism, I really did not know what was ahead
of us. What challenges Cady would face, and how, as her mother I could help her
meet those challenges.
I was going to stick by my promises and make sure she was protected and safe
from all outside elements that might hurt her. I would be her armour..
In doing so, I was shielding her from things that she needed to experience.

A very good friend of mine gave me a little piece of advice...
"Let her go, Jeanette"..."let her fall a bit and see what happens".

The minute I gave her more independence...Caitlin flourished. She became
happier and more grounded. She showed me that she was smart and capable.

Her Occupational Therapist gave me the same bit of advice when she wanted
Caitlin to be in the Special Olympics. I was not sure she could handle the noise
and the competition.
The OT said, "Let her go, Jeanette"..."you won't be able to hang on to her forever"...

I let her go...Caitlin went on to win 2 gold medals..one in softball pitch and one in
the short relay race. Caitlin was so proud of herself and we were just as proud of her.

At the age of 3, when Caitlin was still not using her voice, I was not sure she would
ever talk. Frankly, that was the least of my worries. But, around the age of 9, her
voice came. She has been vocal and opinionated since. That is how I know she is my
daughter...she has her opinions and is very vocal about them.

As Caitlin went from Elementary school, to Middle School and now well into
High school....she has proven that she is capable to be able to tolerate most
situations. Caitlin is respected by both her peers and her educators. She has
remained to make me a very proud mother.

As this day approached...I came to realize that it is not Caitlin who is having
an issue with becoming an adult...but my issue.
As her mother, I felt comfortable with the decisions we made in Caitlin's
journey through adolescence and teenage years. I know that we did our
best in making her decisions for her. We worked hard with Caitlin to make her
be able to be at the place she is now....

I, as a mother, am comfortable with parenting the rest of our children because
of the lessons I learned by being Caitlin's mother.

You see, it is I who is having the problem of Caitlin becoming an adult. I have
never been the parent of an adult. Hopefully I will learn from parent's who
are ahead of me in this area. Parent's who have had to make decisions for their
adult child with Autism. Decisions that might not be the easiest to make, but
what is best for their adult child(ren).

So, there you have it...the day has come.
Happy Birthday to my daughter...who I hope continues to challenge me and
teach me more about being the best Mom I can be.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY CAITLIN !!!!

4 comments:

Nancy said...

My ASD son turned 13 yesterday. A teen finally.

Your advice about letting go is very good. I hope I can do that too. We are gently coaxing him toward an independent life, running his own business somehow, somewhere, maybe living with us, or half with us. But we admire his creative spirit and his ability to recreate himself.

Congralations! Just...5 more to go?

Shanie said...

I have followed your blog for a while now and almost commented several times. One was when you posted about your other daughter's birthday, which is the same as mine (10/29). I teach students with autism on the more severe end of the spectrum, ages 15-18. I am going to print your post and pass it on to all of the parents, because as I work to prepare them to transition into their "adult life" I believe your post, parent to parent, sums up beautifully what I try to instill in my students and their parents every day. Thank you for blogging!

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