2012 is the Year of the Dragon in the lunar calendar. A divine creature, the Dragon is a symbol of good fortune, power and superiority in Chinese astrology. The Oriental Dragon is a revered, mystical creature, unlike the beastly, menacing Western Dragon. So expect grand success and good luck this auspicious year.
Like all parents with children on the autism spectrum, good health and recovery for my children is predominant in my New Year’s resolutions. This year, I also include taking better care of myself physically, emotionally and spiritually. Throughout the years in my children’s recovery journey, I poured every fibre of my being into recovering Mei and Min Min. Until there was nothing left of me. I was drained, exhausted, TKO’ed. But it’s ok, because that was where I needed to be for my children at that time. An Autism Mum. Or at least, the version of an Autism Mum I thought I should be.
I used to be an intelligent and successful career woman, before I hung up my shoulder pads and Filofax for granny underpants and snot-stained, shabby-mummy uniform. Is this what I turned out to be? This grumpy, grungy housewife with the sad face? It seems that every tear I’ve shed, every scream I’ve held inside, every grief-stricken memory showed on my face. I wonder if this is the face my children see everyday? The face my husband wakes up to every day? The poor fella. What kind of a role model am I to my girls? I’m trying my best to raise them to be strong, independent, confident young women. Not this beat-up, broken-down version of me. Time to get my yin in balance with my yang.
I miss the original version of myself. I long for the days when muffin tops were something I ate with glee, rather than a feature permanently lodged on my waistline. I remember being carefree, adventurous and fun. Not that I have anything to be ashamed of now. I’m now a wiser, nurturing and compassionate version of me. Though it came at a great cost, thanks to autism (though I am hard-pressed to thank autism for anything)
So, no more sad-mummy moments curled-up in a fetal position in my walk-in closet, covered in snot and boogers. No more mooching around the house in pajamas at 11am. No more dirty-haired scrunchy-ponytails and goat-toes (that’s what Hubby calls my feet after having missed many months of pedicures). I thought I had to sacrifice every part of myself in order to do justice to my girls. I thought being a happy, healthy, attractive woman means that I am doing less for my kids. I felt spending time, money and effort on myself meant I wasn’t as committed to their autism recovery as I should be. I thought wearing lip gloss and able to fit into skinny jeans means I’m less of a mum. Clearly, I was wrong. I’m trying to eat better (snort!) and taking fish oils, minerals, vitamins, probiotics and the almost-magical L-Theanine. Let the Zen begin…..
I went to Universal Studios in Singapore with my BFF recently. It was a good break for me, I got to catch up with my best friend, had some time away from kids, illnesses and the many realities that is my current life. I went on the Battlestar Galactica Cyclon ride; you should have seen me all trembly-kneed, hoarse from screaming and fluffy-haired coming off the roller-coaster. It was the scariest ride I have ever been on, peed-in-my-pants kinda scary! But 90 seconds of dips and turns at super-sonic speed is a walk in the park compared to parenting and raising 2 girls on the autism spectrum.
This year Mei, Min Min and I will be healthier and stronger. Good fortune will shower us for we have the Dragon on our side. Gong Xi Fa Chai and Happy Chinese New Year! May the Year of the Dragon bring much success, prosperity and good health to all.