January 1, 2019

New Year. Same Us.

Closing the book on 2018 last night was such a reflection of what our daily lives are like.  To update you on Brandon, he is seven.  He is in first grade.  He loves his autism service dog, Bingo, and has a great support system around him.  He is pretty profoundly autistic, and is not functionally verbal.  Autism and ADHD bring such significant struggles to him that no child - no person - should have to deal with.

So, we put Brandon down for bed, and we sat down with some sushi dinner and the movie Bird Box.  About five minutes in, James checked the security camera in Brandon's room and let's just say we had....well, an issue...pertaining to...diapers.  Whatever your first thought is...no...think worst case scenario. This is one of the toughest parts for us as parents as far as autism goes.  But, we know the drill.  James and I got to our jobs to clean up the mess so we could get back to our evening.  We've mused in the past about how automatic it is.  There's no drama or hysterics.  It's just something that has to be done, so we get to it.  It's just a part of our lives.

I tucked Brandon back in bed, and while I tickled him and kissed him all over his face, he giggle and belly laughed.  James looked at me and said, "I am so glad we are his parents."  Knowing exactly what he meant by that, I smiled said, "Me too."  You see, an event like last night is unfortunate.  It's hard to be faced with the struggles that no 7-year-old should be dealing with.  The stress that brings is immense.  I don't know how much Brandon understands about the severity of some of his behaviors, but I would never shame him for it.  I just try to teach him the correct behaviors and expectations, and I can't take it personally or "be mad at him" when he falls short.  It takes a lot of patience, and I don't make light of that.

We did get back to our movie, only to be interrupted again when Brandon had slid his mattress off his bed, and started picking the stuffing out of it.  (Thank you fireworks for keeping him riled up all night.)

As you might expect, the toll that having a special needs child puts on your marriage is difficult.  James and I have had our fair share of arguments to the point where a couple years ago, I was sure it was over.  We've struggled with the work, with patience, with how to handle Brandon's physical aggression, etc.  Through prayer and hard work, our marriage is better now than it has ever been.  We're a team, and man...we truly make such a good one!  I can't imagine walking this path without him.  Our marriage is not perfect by any means, but it's undeniable that it was meant to be.  To the single parents out there who have children with special needs, I can't even put into words how much respect for you.  Not many people are stronger or work harder than you!

So, goodbye to 2018, and hello 2019.  We have had a lot of terrible and horrific moments in 2018, but we've also had some amazing life-changing ones!  In 2019 there will be lots of new adventures, new challenges, and new behaviors, but we will still be the same us, and I am so grateful for that!

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