Adapting to life with autism is a dangerous business, and I used to enjoy  indulgent little moments when I'd believed I'd cracked it.

I've read the dreamy books about the autie kid who progresses from being a screaming dervish of poo and vitriol to being a calm, (non-poo flinging) auto-bot who says "please" and "thank you" and definitely never, ever dips toilet roll in the loo and eats it.
That would never happen at the end of these stories.

Dreams like this are seductive, but have no place in reality.
It's just too painful to wake up from them.




They're like having a sneaky hot chocolate (with a flake on the side) when you're on a diet.
Gorgeous at the time, but the rest of the time you're starving yourself and yet still have a fat arse.

Or fantasizing that you're a size 8  genetics professor (who finds a cure for autism) with washboard abs and absolutely no cellulite...who also runs marathons for fun and has read Ulysses and the entire works of Dostoevsky. 
In Russian.
This is a lovely little reverie until you open your eyes and realise you're an over-caffeinated special needs parent with breakfast in her hair and barely enough mental energy to focus on the RTE Guide.


Or picturing yourself chatting to strangers about your kids and almost forgetting to mention that your youngest boy is autistic, because autism is no longer a dominant feature in your life.  You would laugh blithely and say "oh autism, that's sooo last year".

These are happy little fantastic interludes, but are utterly counter productive.
Because I wake up and wonder "where did my life go?".

My life is so alien compared to what it could be if my little boy was born without autism.
I hardly need to point out that I adore Finian with all my heart (as I do my 3 kids) but four years on from his diagnosis, I am beginning to see that my goals for him and our family are unrealistic, and therefore heartbreaking.

I have to stop dreaming about family holidays, having a family Sunday lunch in a restaurant or (perhaps most tragically of all) wearing heels anytime soon, as I have to be in constant readiness (and therefore Reeboks) to sprint after my lightening bolter.

Dreams can be dangerous, and my feet touched the bottom of a big black hole when I woke up and smelled the coffee.





Four years on and my house is still a triple-locked fortress.
I still have to exercise extreme caution when washing Finian, just in case it's not chocolate spread smeared across his cheeks.
I am not getting any younger, while Finian is becoming bigger, faster and brighter at a dizzying pace.
I'm finding it hard to keep up, and all my big dreams of four years ago now seem naive and romantic.





But out of the ashes, new dreams can flutter.

I am hopeful that when we get our assistance dog from the AADI that we will manage to enjoy family walks in the park.
I will never run a marathon, but most days I can escape outdoors for a walk around the Monaghan hills.
I can read a book, chapter by chapter, and enjoy it for what it is and not as a job I need to do.

These are all tangible goals that will not break my heart.
And one day I WILL wear heels.







(p.s I've decided to "out" Bob and give my son his real name...he's not quite as besotted with Bob as he was so it seems a little more grown up)


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Tags: autism, dreams, realism

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