Most parenting websites will come out with a list of their favorite autism bloggers, some will "light it up blue", autistic self-advocates will write about their lives, and parents of children on the spectrum will write about raising children with autism.
In the middle of all of this awareness there will be tension.
Tempers will flare.
And absolutely nothing will be accomplished by it.
In all honesty this is a big reason why I have not blogged much in the past year. I have dealt with some personal demons which made my ability to share my life here very difficult. I have also walked around social media on a carpet of egg shells for fear of offending someone by saying anything at all of a serious nature about the struggles that come with raising two sons with autism.
The fact is, it's not all sunshine, laughter, and silliness around here. Some days I feel my anxiety level reaching a critical level because there is so much I cannot control in my day to day life as a mom. I can't snap my fingers and make Noah use the potty instead of diapers. I can't help him understand that if he would just relax he could poop without pain and no longer need the high doses of Miralax we give him on a daily basis. I can't change Sam's aggressiveness or his inability to handle hearing the word, "No".
What I can do is seek out others like myself taking it one day at a time and celebrating the milestones as they happen and lifting each other up during the times they do not. When what I really need is someone to listen to me vent my frustrations I turn to my fellow autism parents. They won't judge me when I complain about washing fecal matter out of the carpets or needing to buy a new bed because Noah filleted his like a fish. They will tell me about the time their kid wrote on the walls with a Sharpie marker or some other outlandish behavior.
There are times when what I really need is to talk to an adult with autism who can help me better understand the reasons behind why my sons do this or that. When Noah went through a phase where he stripped all his clothing off in public places I went to my friend Jamie and he very patiently walked me through the reasons why he as a child found clothing abrasive and would do the same thing. He helped me troubleshoot what about the clothing might be setting Noah off and then gave me some great ideas on how to lessen his aversions.
I am thankful for the unique qualities each of these groups bring to the autism community. I firmly believe there is a place for each of us to share our reality without pushing anyone to choose sides or draw lines in the sand.
From here on out I'm going to share more of my life here. It is the only one I know authentically. I promise to write more honestly, to share more laughs, and I won't be afraid anymore to admit that when life gives you lemons your lemonade is going to suck if you weren't also given some water and sugar.
This month I want to be most aware of my sons.
Of how far we have come since that first diagnosis in 2005.
Of where we are headed together.
Lemons and all.