As we go through our day to day routine, I often feel like a horse wearing blinders. I have my eyes set on a goal and there is no time to stop and look around. If I get distracted, I may freak out. Our daily routine involves taking girls to school, taking Mara to speech and OT and being at home for ABA. We honestly do very little other than those things. I go to the grocery store after the girls are in bed. Karl and I even split up going to mass on Sundays because Mara can’t handle church right now. Things are better recently, but for quite a while getting Mara into school or her therapy clinic was a HUGE battle. She didn’t want to get out of the car. Once out of the car she didn’t want to walk on her own. She frequently wound up on the ground kicking and screaming in the middle of the courtyard. I would have to carry her while she hit me in the face and I pushed Stella in the stroller. The goal in my mind was simple…get in the door. I would take a deep breath, keep my eyes on the door and endure being hit in the face. All the while I knew that strangers were staring at me, judging me, wondering why I couldn’t get my kid to behave, but I didn’t look at them.
When I watched the promotional video that Imagine A Way made about our family, one thing struck me: Why does Karl seem more emotional than I do? Why am I not crying? Anyone who knows us knows that he is definitely not the emotional one! I’ve been thinking about it and I think I understand it now. Because I spend so much time with Mara and Karl is at work, he is just a few months behind me. I grieved the loss of the childhood I imagined for my daughter a long time ago. I cried. A lot. Then one day I decided to put my blinders on. I decided that nothing was going to get done if I continued to be depressed about what was happening to our family. I like my blinders. They keep me focused on what is important…getting in the door, moving forward, helping my girl. I don’t have time to look and see what strangers are saying. I don’t have time to cry. If I break down, my whole family breaks down. Karl is coming out of the grieving process, too. He is wonderful with Mara, with all of our girls. It is because of him that I can stay home with our girls.
Keeping my blinders on may not be the healthiest way to deal with the stress of having a child with autism, but for now it works. I will continue to block out the distractions to the side and focus on what is most important…my family.