To be thankful for. (That is much more entertaining if you know the song and dance that goes along with it!)
Anyway, coming in a little late, but is it ever really too late to share what you're thankful for? This Thanksgiving week, I have not been feeling well...a simple cold I'm sure but with my lack of sleep and tendency to push myself to keep going, it was and still is kicking my behind! Seriously! Keeping up with a hyper 3 year old while sick is no walk in the park, I can tell you that much, but the kid is so worth it...and that's what I'm thankful for...my son and how far he has come in this journey with autism.
I have touched on this before, but I cannot begin to express how amazingly blessed I have been with him. When Shaun was diagnosed, just a little over a year ago, he had little eye contact- it was there but had to be fought for and was more likely to come with active play. His speech, which he had once been advanced in had dwindled and communication was sorely lacking. He would prefer to play on his own, oh sure, we're told he's quite social for a child on the spectrum, and I believe this is true, but when you try to sit and play with your child or read him a book or just really spend time doing something together, not just next to one another, only to be pushed out time and time again...it's hard.
So it is these little things that others might take for granted that I am thankful for each and every day...when Shaun brings me a book to read to him! Actually read to him! He still doesn't have the patience to let me finish a book, but for the kid who would not even take the time to look at one on his own, its amazing. Even when my throat is killing me and it hurts to talk, I treasure that he wants to share this with me, that he has initiated this activity with me.
When he drags me into his playroom, not because he needs something but just because he wants me there. He still won't let me really play WITH him, but again, this is a big step and I cherish it! And sometimes he does- like when he wants to dance (thank you Dancing With The Stars), or do what he calls 'Shaun (our last name which will be omitted because this is a public blog after all)'- where he lies on my feet and I lift him up in the air. Games that he initiates.
When he calls me mommy, says 'I love you', looks me right in the eye even in that silly 'inches from your face hope you remembered to brush your teeth' kind of way, when he will randomly (though rarely) climb on the couch and snuggle next to me, when he says 'I want' or yes or no appropriately to the questions asked. Those first steps toward a world of communication, those are the things I am thankful for. I know that we have been truly blessed with these things and I don't take them for granted even for a second.
Oh, he still has his struggles, he hasn't magically been cured by any means...this has been the result of countless hours of therapies, working with him on my own and more recently and perhaps the biggest influence: school! He still scripts random things he's heard at school or in movies completely out of context (and sometimes not all too appropriately- don't get me started on 'he's exposing himself' or 'it's a gusher' while trying to give himself a bloody nose..oy!). His communication skills, while better than they were are still majorly delayed and most often, it's still mommy playing mind reader. He still doesn't say as much, or more often understand as much as his typical peers...but none of that matters because I only look to see where he was coming from to where he is now.
In a few days it will have been 4 years since we found out that I was pregnant with Shaun. At the time, the doctors told me that it was most likely an ectopic pregnancy and would never be born. We mourned for him then, already more loved than ever imagined, and yet here we are. He's been proving people wrong from the very beginning and I truly believe that he will continue to prove naysayers wrong and make a difference in this world, as he has in mine.