As you know, I am in the middle of reading this book right now. It’s Superb! Kristine Barnett is Superb. So often as I read I have the biggest smile on my face and tears at the back of my eyes. Those of you who have been reading this blog for long enough know the lifelong path that we started on once we met Autism and its spectrum so to see what someone else on the same journey, further along than us, has been able to achieve has been wonderful. As usual, child or relative on the spectrum or not, I absolutely recommend that you read the story of Jake, his Mum and his family!
I could have ended the post right there, but I haven’t got to my reason for posting yet! Something truly shocking happens about halfway through the book. Well two things actually and to hear Kristine’s version of them, you see that she is genuinely surprised at their occurrence. Needless to say, she cracks on and sorts them out like the trooper she is, and I presume will always be, and the story will go on. Kristine Barnett is an amazing woman and her husband an equally amazing man, but even phenomenal people need to know their limits.
You cannot work all the hours that God sends running a nursery/daycare business, have a child with Autism, have another child with a life threatening condition, go on to set up a charity for lots of children with Autism to get them into Reception/Kindergarten and then have a third child, whilst keeping all of the above going. Underlying condition or not, something is going to give and my first bet would have always been her health. For your Other Half to then have to pick up all those reins, plus keep his own job going with new and unwelcome challenges being presented there, I would have bet that his health would be next. I will need to keep reading to find out what happens next, but I am absolutely sure that the fantastic family that they are, all will be well.
If you are like the Barnetts, achieve the outstanding and amazing, but look after yourself too. Rest, take breaks, relax and try not to overdo it. Yes hon, you are one of those of which I write! Balance is a wonderful thing. As is your health!
This newspaper is my one little treat a week regarding keeping abreast of what is going on in the world. Beside daily doses of Radio 4 that is! Never being on top of anything these days – remember the 3 jobs – and generally being a chaotically natured person, the papers and enclosed magazines are taking many weeks to get read.
Hence my excitement at seeing the above, ‘What I’m really thinking title’ as I opened one of my many unread Guardian weekend magazines. We think Little Man is on the Autism Spectrum. He has been assessed, but so far the results have been inconclusive. As a Mother, I can’t tell you how far I have come since the day his pre-school raised concerns about his behaviour. Yes, he knew his numbers, name, colours and shapes etc. and was a lovely little boy, but he didn’t talk or play with the other children and he got extremely upset if routines changed. There were other things too, but you don’t say this to a Primary School Teacher, with a Health Visitor for a Sister, a Nurse for a Mother-in-Law and two friends who either Manage or Own a Nursery and not expect me to go into overdrive to get to the bottom of their concerns.
It wasn’t a good 7 months for me. I couldn’t sleep, going to bed in the early hours of the morning only to awake in fear a few hours later. I either didn’t eat at all or ate rubbish trying to make myself feel better with my drug of choice, sugar. I would cry on a daily basis and just look at Little Man for ages wondering what the future held for someone so beautiful in every way.
At the end of the 7 months we got our assessment. More tears! Understanding too though, putting everything in context, telling us what the future would probably hold for our Little Man and essentially saying that as our son, as his parents and as a family we would be ok! Which is why this particular article struck a chord with me and I am sharing it with you.
This was not what you had planned. It isn’t the journey you expected to be on but like the article says, it is your journey. It took me 7 months to begin to make my peace with my journey. I don’t worry about Little Man’s future anymore and just enjoy each day with him and marvel at what he can do (amazing things with numbers, a computer and a piano, considering he is still only 3!) and at who he is.
It was never Other Half’s journey and when I showed him the article he got nothing from it at all. Yes, he thinks Little Man is unconventional. So is Little Lady for that matter – can tell you her talents another time- but for some reason, from day one all Other Half has ever done is encourage Little Man’s strengths and infinitely love and be loved by him. Period.
You may not have a child on the Autism Spectrum, but if you are going through some sort of struggle now; loss of a loved one, a serious illness or disability, a relationship breakdown, loss of housing or employment, this message is still for you. Accept the journey that you are on first. Then you will be able to see what to do about it.