Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Now that I think about it, I do have a LOT to say but I am not saying it because it's a mix of good and bad. It's overwhelming to have been afraid, very, very afraid and have taken a leap of faith anyway. Packing up and coming back home might have seemed like the no-brainier answer to anybody but yet it was the scariest thing I have ever done. I knew we needed to be back with our family but I also knew it was going to hurt. I have managed to be strong on my own because I couldn't be weak, because I didn't have my loving parents near to comfort me. I knew I was going to cry. I knew I would be tempted to let down my guard before my family and take that shoulder that was being offered to cry on. I knew that when my sister-in-law would tell me I wasn't alone, I was going to believe it and I would probably cry. I didn't want to do it but I knew I was going to. I have broken down and it has felt terrible but it has also felt good. As I write these lines, I am crying too but I am feeling the relief of sharing how blessed I am to have been given a real chance to be accepted and welcomed - understood and loved. Yes, my son has difficult days - he does, and now my family is witness to his struggle. Not for a week in the summer and a few days in Christmas but everyday. Every little meltdown; every big dissapointment; every therapy; every homework, every battle. It's hard to see them learning to understand Autism and it pains me that they have to go through it with us because it's hard. At the same time, I see how they also enjoy our little victories of everyday and appreciate the bright, amazing individual he is. It's great to have someone to cry and laugh with at the same time and although I knew they were always in our corner, the hugs, the smiles and the tears are more real when they are not 3K miles away.
Moving from Seattle has been difficult because we had to start all over again - this time with a special needs child. Locating the right school setting is still a work in progress and we struggle everyday with inclusion and services. Building a new support team is exhausting because Frankie has constant changing needs and strengths and we are still searching for the right approach. Throw in an unhappy teenager and a middle child that is still trying to find his way into this equation and it's a recipe for disaster. But it's not, not really - it's more like a huge blessing wrapped up in bright foil paper. This second tour of Miami has been an eye-opening experience of what's really important and what it's not. Forget the heat, the traffic, the rudeness, the fast pace of an overpopulated city - keep the focus on our patient family members, caring and understanding old friends and the treasure of new-found friends walking with us through this uncharted territory. It's all good.
We are now where we need to be. It's all part of a painful but perfect plan to grow strong in the midst of our weakness. It's painful to talk about it but it's liberating. If you are one of my Seattle friends, I do miss you and I am sorry for being silent. I will forever be grateful to have met each one of you because you touched my life in a very special way. If you are one of my Miami friends, I might not say much and I am not ready to party yet, but I will be - and that's a promise, not a threat. If you are one of my family members, I have no words to tell you how blessed I feel to have you in my life - you are a kick-butt family that sticks together and makes it happen no matter what. Thanks for loading and unloading, thanks for driving and for flying (Erin, that's for you too!), thanks for allowing us the space we need when we need it and for being in our face when it's time. Thanks for the glass of wine and for the cup of coffee and thanks for the dumb jokes and the teasing - yes, one day we will eat organic food. Right.
Turns out I do have a lot to say and it's not all that bad after all. Perhaps I will start saying more from here on because there is always something worth sharing and we can all use a little pick me up story here and there!