Life is Hard

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I try not to share a lot of really personal stuff with the internet, mostly because I don’t feel like everything belongs on the internet, but there is something that in my heart, I just feel like I really need to share. I have had many tear-filled, sleepless nights for the last few months, and this is why:

The photo above is of Aiden, the day he was born. He was a beautiful baby and is still a beautiful boy. He has been the shining light in my life for almost ten years now. Not too long ago I took Aiden to the doctor. He’s not sick, he’s perfect and healthy. I took him to get a referral to a child psychologist, to have him evaluated. I don’t cry because I’m sad, or because I mourn the loss of a normal child. He has always been normal to me, he’s the only Aiden I know. But for years it has also been evident to me that Aiden is just a little bit different, often he does not behave like the other kids. He’s special, so very special to me and everyone around him. I love him so very much that my heart usually feels as though it swells two-fold when I think of him. He is wildly imaginative, extremely sharp, and selfless almost to a fault. He has had a new invention every single day since he was only four years old. He has inventions for everything, and I can’t wait to meet the robot that will cook my breakfast and do my dishes.

I am very much a mama-bear, ready to pounce anyone who threatens my little ones. On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being bite-your-head-off-if-you-give-my-kids-a-dirty-look, I am probably an 11. Aiden’s speech was delayed quite a bit and with therapy, has improved by leaps and bounds. When he was younger it was mentioned that perhaps there was something wrong and my mama-bear instinct would kick in and I’d block it out. It is so hard to hear that something might be “wrong” with your child. In the past year or so all of the pieces fell into place and it was very clear to everyone that Aiden is autistic. After thorough evaluation, the results confirmed our suspicions. I feel as though the world has been lifted off of my shoulders. It feels like a sort of closure.

Since his first time in First Grade it has been such a struggle for him and with him. We could never piece together why every single way we tried to help him didn’t actually help. If I tell you it’s been hard, I’m sugar-coating it. There were times where I just wanted to crawl into a corner and curl up into a ball. There were days where I would walk to pick him up from school and want to turn around because I worried about what the teacher might say. Did he crawl under his desk today? Did he cover his ears? Did he yell or scream at someone? I am so happy to say that in the last year we have been able to partner with Aiden’s school to get him the help he deserves and he has been thriving. I have never seen him so happy and proud of himself. He even did the monkey bars at school which is a big feat considering he still trips over his own feet.

The road ahead for Aiden may have some bumps but is still bright. We are determined to be there for him in every way we can and to support him in any endeavor he chooses. There is so much of Aiden that is Autism and Aiden wouldn’t be the Aiden we all know and love without it.

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P.S. If you are interested in the best piece of writing about Autism I’ve ever read, readΒ this.

16 thoughts on “Life is Hard

  1. beautiful photos of your aiden as a baby and him today – thank you for sharing this honest and heartfelt post, jessica.

    aiden is so lucky to have such an amazing family, and you are so lucky to have him, too – sounds like he is in a great school and so wonderful to hear he is thriving! monkey bars!

    yay for boys! (i have a little toddler son…) xo

  2. so beautiful and from the heart, Jessica – beautiful child and beautiful mama ~ you are blessed to have one another….thank you for sharing…much love to you as you learn and grow together, with this new awareness and support.

  3. Jessica-

    I remember reading the website you had when you were young and Aiden was just a baby . I was so excited when i happened to stumble upon this one YEARS after I had last seen or read anything of yours. Since reading your old website and then finding this one with your husband and new baby.. wow. Even though I don’t know you, I am so proud of the woman you seem to have become and some of the BIG changes that you have made in your life from when you were a (great and determined) teen mother to the successful, incredible, strong woman you’ve become! I can’t imagine how difficult this was for you to write, I commend your bravery. Aiden is a very lucky boy to have the family he does, and I know that under your guidance he will thrive. I wish Aiden all the best, you can truly see what a beautiful soul he is even through the photos you post! Take care πŸ™‚

  4. As a parent, it’s hard when anything happens to our children. Sometimes you question if it was something that you did. Our daughter had some seizures early in life and the first questions were about her birth. Implying that maybe, somehow, I was to blame. I think in life, we often look for scapegoats instead of just accepting the issue and doing the best we can to help the issue at hand become a non-issue. To help your child succeed. From the few photos I’ve seen since reading your site to what I’ve read above, you are definitely making some mighty good lemonade and I can only imagine that sometimes it might taste a bit sour. It takes alot of courage to share. Keep up the work. Parenting can be pretty tough some days.

  5. What a beautiful and thoughtful post. And personally, very timely for me…my youngest (he’s 4) is speech delayed and our pediatrician is referring us for more therapies and suspects he may be on the spectrum. Thanks for sharing-I’m so glad to hear about the progress you are making and how supportive your school is!

  6. can’t tell you how much I love this post. I know I already said this, but you are a strong, amazing mother and Aiden is lucky to have you!! much love to you all!

  7. This was writing so perfectly, I almost cried. Not out of sadness, but out of the love you have for your son. My son is almost 2 and I TOTALLY get your “momma bear” instincts. My husband and I have to catch ourselves when older boys pick on our son at the children’s museum or the playground and realize there are boundaries on how much you can correct OTHER kid’s behavior.

  8. That was a very emotional and lovely piece of writing, it truly read like you had opened up your heart for us. I too am very much overly-defensive mama bear, and it’s SO hard to hear there might be something “wrong” with our babies. But now that he’s been “diagnosed”, is it easier? It must be, to know what he’s struggling with and how you and others can help him overcome them. I wish all of your family the best πŸ™‚

  9. it must’ve been hard to put all of this feelings into words and share with the world, I think you are so brave for doing this and Aiden is so lucky to have you as his mama, you seem to be a great family πŸ™‚

  10. Thirty never looked so beautiful … loved the photos and even more, loved your thoughts. You have so many creative abilities! We love you and are glad you are in our family! Welcome to “Grown-up hood!”

  11. Just stumbled on this post today … not sure how I missed it before. Your thoughts are heart-wrenching and beautiful. Love the love that is so very palatable throughout!

  12. I didn’t realize this Jessica, and I am so glad you shared. Our Bryce has autism too. He is funny and sweet and hard to describe. We’ve known for several years so it feels natural to us in a lot of ways, but new circumstances constantly throw us curve balls. Hope we get to meet at Alt!

    1. Hi Julia! It’s nice to hear someone else’s experience with it as well. I completely understand about the curve balls. Luckily we’re past the majority of them, I hope. I know there will be different challenges for him as he grows but hopefully with what we’ve put into place so far it can help him navigate those challenges. I’ll connect with you via e-mail so we can meet at Alt, I’m hosting a roundtable. πŸ™‚

  13. My little brother is autistic. He is very high functioning, but autistic nonetheless. He also had delayed speech as a little guy. When he did start talking, often he had his own made-up words. I remember the doctors telling my parents that he may never say “I love you”, and that seemed so harsh to me. All in all, I think love is the most important tool with autistic kids. My little brother is graduating high school this year, and eventually wants to study psychology. I guess, I just want to give you a message hug! Let you know you’re not alone. I know he wasn’t my son, but I was 11 when he was born, so I got a big dose of big sister care. Any how, take care, and keep up the great work! Love love love your blog!

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