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That urge to protect my children, to advocate for them, awakened the she-bear in me.

We take life day by day, just like everyone else. One of the things that helped me along the way was the day that I realized that others fight their own battles as well. Other people sometimes feel lost along the way, but we parents of autistic children are too busy and overwhelmed with our own battles to see what others deal with. Yes, I had to raise a runner, a loud awkward young man and a quiet, compliant girl who was easily ignored by her teachers, even though she could not read or write or tie her shoes until quite late. My son sucked up the attention because he was very disruptive in his main streamed classroom. But I developed backbone when my daughter was going to be placed in a very, very inappropriate setting.

Sometimes I was envious of how easy other parents seemed to have it. Jealous that their kids were in/understood sports. Resentful that I had to spend all this time taking my kids to therapy instead of girl scouts or soccer.  But as my kids grew up and became more independent and I had a chance to catch my breath, I looked around and saw parents dealing with drug abuse, alcoholism, and depression. My sister has had to deal with mental illness in two of her children. A young woman in our church has just found out that one child is diabetic and another has heart problems.

It is undeniably tough to be a parent of autistic children, and some in my community put me on a pedestal (distancing me from my peers). They say, how did you do it? Even, how can you stand it? You are an amazing mother. Yes, it sounds good, but I still had to deal with the dailiness of always training, always trying to predict what was going to happen and try to prevent meltdowns and/or awkward moments.

In  the end it is worth it. You can do it. You are doing it. The truth is, though, my house is a mess. My garden is in woeful shape. I have spent myself for my children, and that is more important than a clean house.

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