The new year is coming on steadily and reflections of the one behind us are, I suppose, inescapable. What a year it has been in our small green house!
2005 will probably always be known to us as the year of Autism, which is particularly sad because it was also the year that our Sammy was born. Sam was born at home, after only 3 hours of mostly easy labor and was welcomed into the arms of each family member in turn. It was the one shining moment of the year. I haven't been the best mother to baby Sam. All the kisses and hugs and tickles that were lavished on Oliver as a baby have been almost an after-thought with Sam. I know that all mothers of two children feel that the infancy of their second slips by faster than it did for the first -- but Sam has been almost completely overshadowed by autism. I haven't enjoyed the moments I've spent putting him to sleep because I am just desperate for him to be asleep. The minutes I spend walking and rocking him are minutes when Oliver is wandering aimlessly around the house or posted in front of the TV. The times when I should be oohing and aahing over his developmental milestones are times I have been focusing on trying to figure out how to get Oliver to milestones that he has missed.
New Year's Resolution #1: Spend more time enjoying Sammy. He is a gift of love and laughter and he needs us as much as we need him.
2005 was also the year that two neighbors, women I barely knew, offered me solace, hope, strong embraces, and ice cream in the middle of the afternoon.
It was the year that people started referring to their own children as normal. As in: "Well, my kid is normal but . ..."
And it was the year that a perfect stranger turned to me and said: "Did you ever think he might have autism?"
And it was the year I lost faith in the medical establishment.
2005 was the year I quit my job. And the year I learned what it really means to be a mother.
It was the year that old friends and some family members have disappeared -- or perhaps, not knowing what to say, they have remained silent. Same difference.
And it was the year that some friendships blossomed and nurtured me when I needed it most.
It was the year of the diet.
And the year of the poop.
And it was the year that I learned that when you just don't know whether to laugh or cry you should always choose laughter. Because, happy or sad, the same mess will be there to clean up when you are done and it is easier to face if you've just had a good laugh.