I’ve never done anything really BIG in my life. I don’t think my name will be recalled in great debates long after I’m gone and I’m pretty sure you won’t find any of my writings being discussed on college campuses. But I dream BIG. Before autism entered our lives I dreamed of being a supermom. You know them, right? They always look put together with perfect hair, great figures and always the right shoes. They say the perfect things, their kids are star athletes, and for some reason they are always taller than me. What is up with that?
But I’m not a supermom. As a matter of fact I often sing “I’m no supermom” to the tune of Lazlo Bane’s Superman, the theme song from Scrubs. But to be truthful I can’t actually blame my lack of super-ness on autism, I was never going to be one of those mothers. I mean really, with my hair, it is never gonna happen. But I can be a super mom, and that is what I strive for now. I grab my metaphorical red cape and take Matthew to occupational therapy, physical therapy, cranial sacral, ABA. I make special meals, buy GFCF foods, shop for supplements and devise ways to hide the meds that taste bad. I attend IEP meetings, debate the benefits of one doctor over another, research new therapies, and give detox foot baths. I buy autism recovery books, talk to other autism parents and try to just piece it all together. I alleviate his fears and boost his confidence. I let him test his wings but support him so he is successful. I cry when I’m overwhelmed by all autism throws at us, and I cry even more when overwhelmed by all Matthew gives us. I try not to let autism control the lives of my other kids, but I don’t beat myself up when it does. I plan for his future and make special orange-ball-be-gone spray to get rid of his scary orange orbs he sees at night in his room. I make Buzz Lightyear GFCF “butter-cream” frosting transfers for his birthday and laugh at his jokes that don’t really make sense. You see I have a new BIG dream.
My new BIG dream takes place some 15 years in the future. He is wearing black, I’m in something dignified and understated; maybe with a gardenia corsage. He walks across my sight line, pauses to shake a hand, and then he steps to the graduation podium and says “I want to thank my mom and dad for never giving up on me. I love you.” He holds the college diploma high above his head and the crowd cheers. That’s it. It is really that simple; that is this mother’s dream now. And although I don’t really wear a red cape or even juicy couture sweatpants, I know I am a super mom - a super autism mom. Our super powers come from a love for our children that never gives up, and a love that gets tested every day.
Yeah, I’m no supermom. I’m an autism mom.
Maryann DellaRocco is the mother behind the blog Matthew’s Puzzle, which chronicles her journey into the world of autism and biomedical interventions. She is married and has three boys, her oldest is on the spectrum. Follow her on Twitter: @mehmig.
Photocredit: Mehmig’s Photo Album on Flickr, May 6, 2011.