It dawned on me towards the end of last year that while my son’s had a brilliantly happy childhood, it’s not been without major parenting crises. Born into a family in crisis – a family struggling with addiction. A parent, shielding him as far as possible from the trauma that we went through as a family.
This, our first four years as mother and child. It was also during this time that I closed my chapter on fighting the child support and maintenance system.
Then came the concern about speech and language development, and soon thereafter a diagnoses of hearing loss. And while you may not realise this when you read the first six months of hearing loss – it was the start of one hell of an empowering journey for me as a mother. A single parent.
This, the next four years of intervention therapies and advocacy. Me, throwing myself into learning as much as I could possibly learn about hearing loss, language and auditory development, sensory integration and inclusive education and the rights of my child.
And knowing what I knew as a parent of a child with hearing loss, I then also set out to help empower other parents. Share my knowledge and let other parents know that I understand the isolation that comes with a diagnoses of hearing loss – or any diagnoses for that matter. That reaction of feeling completely lost!
I’ve never ever been as attuned to anyone as I am to my son. We’ve lived and continue to live one hell of a resilient life!
The greatest yet, finding my perfect puzzle piece after a late night email about me wracking my mind trying to understand what I was doing wrong. I knew that I was a damn good parent, but still somehow, somewhere, I was missing something! A puzzle piece that requires no intervention, only understanding of unique needs and constant advocacy. Asperger’s Syndrome – an Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Suddenly the world, our world, made sense.
Then it hit me. Our first ten years as mother and child has been fuelled by me fighting, supporting, challenging, advocating, pushing and learning. All this while trying to maintain that childlike wonder of childhood and parenthood.
This, my reflection towards the end of 2016. And with great clarity, assessment in hand I started paving the way for a different kind of parenting. Changing my role from fighting the system to partnering with the system – and who knows, possibly even changing this goddamn system that tends to buckle us down in mediocrity.
Our 2017, the start of something beautiful. Me realising that for the first time I could just be mom. No longer living in a constant state of working towards interventions to reach developmental milestones. No, 2017 – the year where we could just be mom and son. No intervention required, only understanding and advocacy.
For the first time since becoming a mom, I too could start focussing on my own needs. I found my voice, like my son, identified as an Aspie.
And while we’ve experienced death, we’ve also experienced a new way of living.
I’ve never done anything without intent – and this is me, celebrating a decade of resilience. This is me announcing to the big wide universe that I am in the process of transitioning to just being me, and just being mom.
I’ve made a conscious decision to live in my world, to take a break from formal volunteer commitments. I’m withdrawing from society and social engagements (other than what I absolutely have to and need to do) and just focus on living the way I love to live. I will continue to share and communicate via my social media and blog. I will write – A LOT.
This is me, unavailable until the end of 2018!
Soaking up the beauty of going off the people grid, and getting ready to breathe in the quiet space of my freedom.