Our Autism Love Story
This week our friend Audrey Pere will be sharing her family's story about Autism..on the 1st of each month we will be featuring a guest writer so please get in touch if you would like to contribute!
Life on the Spectrum
My name is Audrey Pere … I am married to my amazing husband Kelly and we have 4 young boys with a 5th about to join us in November! I am also blessed with a bonus daughter and the cutest little granddaughter and grandson!
Two of our sons have been diagnosed and are on the Autism Spectrum…. Life as we knew it before and Life as we wanted it to be for the future no longer exists. To live with Autism is to be certain that for the rest of your life you will deal with a large amount of uncertainty!
What I know for sure...
I can say with certainty that caring for children with Autism is hard! Balancing caring for children who do not have Autism is hard. But I can also say with certainty it has been one of the single most greatest blessings and challenges to ever happen to our family.
You see, I think for a long long time we have considered the word Normal to accurately describe what is right, what is societally acceptable and what is the most typical or common way to be! Living with, learning and experiencing Autism everyday I have come to shatter the very ideals around what Normal is supposed to be and supposed to look like!
In fact what I love about what we have learned through our Autism journey is that we are ALL (each and every one of us) a bit weird, very unique and have our different quirks and interesting behavior’s even if we are not on the spectrum!
What is our normal?
Our normal is knowing that we cant/shouldn’t/its easier not to go to many “normal" social events because we are certain our children with Autism will not be able to be free to be their “normal" or that the environment will either stimulate or over stimulate their sensory needs.
Heaven forbid if they are hangry, we have forgotten their device or their favourite toy or they are over tired and CBF being around other people lol ( I know right, sounds exactly like your kid who is not on the spectrum! See we aren’t that different lol) …our normal is finding my 5 year old son crossing the road naked after racing into the local corner store and stealing a packet of Doritos (lucky we live in Temple View where everyone knows each other!) OR finding him naked at the neighbours house climbing the scaffolding right to the top of their newly installed rooftop!
Yes, I know what you’re thinking and yes you’re right! My son prefers to live with little to no clothes on so most of our family, extended family and friends are not phased when they see our son with no clothes on! In fact sometimes people don’t recognize him when he is fully clothed!
Our normal is daily physical aggression, unprovoked attacks of slaps and kicks and scratches, extreme frustration and miscommunication, not having any décor, books, photos or photo albums out as they could be used as weapons or thrown at you just because … our normal is constantly trying to help our children not on the spectrum love and understand that their brothers on the spectrum do not fully comprehend what they do, especially when it hurts.
Being a completely boy and testosterone filled home you can imagine it gets pretty physical and no one wants to back down, many times there are tears and hurt egos! But best believe if anyone says or does anything to any of the brothers they are all ready to pounce!
Speaking as a Mother
I cannot speak for my husband (that’s a whole other blog post) but living with Autism as a mother and especially Me being the mother there are so many tears! Mostly these tears are only seen by my husband (on the daily) and sometimes by friends and family and occasionally have I shared my vulnerable side of this on Social Media...
The real and raw of it is very messy (literally think smothered faeces on your walls, your bed, your carpet and couch), very exhausting (think hyper kids not sleeping till late, getting 3 or 4 hours of sleep and then up and ready to go at 3am – on the regular), mentally draining (think not being able to consistently decipher their needs and wants and feeling like you are consistently failing your child because they cant tell you and you cant understand…
It is often awkward and uncomfortable..but sometimes hilarious at the same time! (Side note- my son loves to smell armpits! And not just a quick smell, a lengthy whiff and pure enjoyment from it and if you’re wondering I use homemade deodorant made of coconut oil lol …Mostly mine and he doesn’t have a set schedule of when and where he would like to smell either… my other son likes to lick Himalayan salt lamps and eat dirt lol)…whatever makes you happy son!
This Is Us
Here is the other real and raw of it – I wouldn’t have it any other way! Despite the messy, exhausting, draining, awkward and uncomfortable I have been gifted something invaluable, something that is truly priceless to me and that is Perspective!
My mind and my heart are now more open, less judgmental, more empathetic, less critical of others, more accepting and embracing of differences and with a stronger desire to advocate for those without a voice … I’m more aware, more conscious, I see the world differently and that is a blessing…and as hard as it is for me and my husband and children not on the spectrum (especially after what I have described above) don’t get it twisted!
I believe it is harder and more difficult for my boys with Autism to live and exist in a society that was not designed for them! (Imagine having your mouth duct taped 24/7 and screaming and screaming for your most basic of all needs to be met and no one can hear or understand you! Tell me you cant feel that frustration ..)
So I’ll take the tears, my own personal meltdowns, the difficulty of having to explain and help others understand, the awkward stares and everything else that comes with the Journey of Autism because ultimately my life will never be as hard as theirs is and I will love and fight for them every step of the way …
We are blessed to have our family and network of friends and loved ones who love, accept and support us .. I am blessed with a husband who is my rock and never leaves me to do this work on my own! We are truly an imperfect team, constantly trying, learning and pushing forward …