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Sam’s Mum

Sam's Mum

A letter to the “Refrigerator Mothers” of the past.

 

To my fellow tribe Mamas,

I will call you that because if you had been born later and were cradling your young child with autism now, we would be huddling round you, ready to advocate, ready to listen and most of all ready to comfort and reassure. You see, I have no doubt that you loved your child as much as I do my dear son however, you became a mother at a time when fear and lack of understanding dominated. It was a time where a doctors word was law and you couldn’t possibly know your child better than them, they were medical professionals of course.

I can’t even begin to imagine the fear you felt when the word Autism was uttered and the fierce look of blame was shot your way, like a bullet to your heart. For in that moment, a thousand memories flashed before you, the endless sleepless nights, the desperate attempts to soothe your distressed baby, the overwhelming guilt of thinking you are not doing enough. The doctor will not see this, he never saw it, his judgement was made on his own singular findings. He hopes to use this moment to further his research and great name.

Your child will be his claim to fame, he will write reports and studies and make assumptions on his findings. His most prominent feature will be you and your obvious “lack of maternal warmth”.  All of the crushing guilt you so desperately tried to free yourself from, will now surround you. You will believe him and it will break your heart.

A new title will be bestowed upon you “Refrigerator Mum” the cause of your child’s condition.  No longer will you just be a ‘Mum’. Your small child is taking you off on a different journey and will be your tour guide however, all that the people around you can see is ‘different’ and their actions mean you are unable to explore this new world with your little one. Their world apparently is only made for one type of person and so your little square peg must be forced, unwilling to fit the round hole.

Before you even had time to process this diagnosis and the newfound opinions of you, suggestions of possible treatments are being discussed. The obvious one being that he should be removed from your care and be spared from the cold, barren environment that has caused his autism and with an emptiness that will never again be whole, you are forced through tears, to agree.

There were many mother’s like yourself, back in the 1950’s that would have experienced a multitude of these feelings and would have felt that their maternal love was not enough. And although we were a mere twinkle in our future father’s eyes when this was happening, I want to speak for us now.

I am sorry that you were ever made to feel like your precious child was less than. I am sorry that nobody really took the time to listen to your unique, wonderful child, without the need for words. I am sorry that if they had taken a moment to listen to you, the mother, they would have seen that you were the one who could calm him. I am sorry that you were ever blamed for anything and made to feel as if you simply didn’t love your child enough. I am sorry that they could not see that you knew exactly how to communicate with your child and he with you, that love transcends all.  I am sorry that they never appreciated the stillness in a moment with your child, observing him with quiet wonder, as you had every day since he was born.

I am sorry that the world wasn’t ready for different yet and so they tried to hide it away, never to be found.  I’m sorry that we were not there, not yet, to comfort and support you and allow you to celebrate the beautiful child you had brought into this world. But I want you to know, that we are here now, we have brought our own precious bundles in to this world and we are making everyone see ‘different’ everyday. We are advocating and teaching as far and wide as we can and I can tell you that there is no blame here. We are mother’s and father’s just like you, we are stepping forwards making those square holes right next to the round ones, our children have their own place, they always have.

I wish they’d have looked at your child with their hearts, not just their eyes, only then would they have truly seen.

 

Sincerely yours,

Jade-Marie

A fellow Mum who loves her son.

 

 

Sam's Mum

Letters to my son – Now You Are Four

 

Dear my Sam,

Well my sweet one, in a few days time you will turn four and even though in some ways time has flown, I feel like I have known you longer. Actually, I can’t remember what it felt like not to have you in my world. You have a pureness of heart that astounds me and an innocence which I hope never completely leaves you.

Everyone who meets you falls in love with you and I nod silently as I watch and feel that burst of pride and think; “Wow, he’s mine.” We have not had the easiest of roads and yet, because of that I never miss a single thing you do.I know you darling and every new thing you accomplish or discover fills me with just as much joy and wonder.

There are many parents that write notes or letters like this to their children on the eve of an upcoming birthday, to try and capture the essence of their little one and remember all the little things they were doing at that tender age. I suppose I am also doing that for you of course but, I wanted to write this also, so that when you read this one day, you realise how amazing you are and how proud I am of you, everyday. You are loved and treasured, you always have been and you always will be.

It’s funny really, parents usually want their children to stop growing up so fast, because it’s all moving too quickly for them. They feel as if they are losing their grasp on their baby and with each year brings more independence and another step in the opposite direction of needing Mummy and Daddy so much. I have the same wish as all those other parents.  I don’t want you to grow too fast but I wish to slow down time for you, not me. I am always excited for your birthdays my darling, its your day, the day of you, my favourite. And yet there is a tiny part of my heart that always whispers “not yet” I try to quiet it and my mind echoes; “Don’t bestow a number on my little boy, before he has quite reached it. Let him be sheltered by three for a little longer.”

When you look back on this one day, please don’t ever think I ever underestimated you. I am the one person who will never do that, you surprise and delight me everyday. Just think of it more in terms of ‘Harry Potter’, (which by the way, will be an old children’s story by then but, still immensely popular I’m sure.) and the patronus, like a protection spell, my protection spell. If I had the power to create one, I’d be your patronus, baby.

I know you will grab being four by the horns and give it a run for its money.  I have been telling you that your birthday is coming soon and you know about presents and candles on a cake. I have already taught you your name, age and address, incase you ever need it; should you ever get lost and someone ask you. I know conversing would be difficult for you at the moment and so I wanted to make sure that you had remembered those things. So now, we need to change “My name is Sam and I’m three” (which you say perfectly) to; “I’m four”. I have been telling you that soon you will be four and you said “Bye, bye three!” and it was at that moment it hit me.  Yes darling, bye, bye three. You are brave and clever and inspiring and will take on any challenges that come your way, as you always do.

And just so you can look back on the fun and cheeky little boy you were, here’s a few things; you love Paw patrol but, are also partial to a little Sofia the First. You have a musical soul and love all the songs Sofia sings. You love to be cheeky and run and sit in Grandad’s chair when he gets up, giggling away and awaiting his reaction. You are a Daddy’s boy right now, and you could play together all day if you didn’t have to stop to eat. As for that appetite of yours, you are my little snacker, rice cakes, bananas, cookies, and Wotsits, to name just a few. You are incredibly smart and can count to one hundred, you know all your ABC’S, you can spell your name and have started spelling other words now. You know all the months of the year and days of the week and as for your shapes, well, even the octagon and pentagon don’t phase you. You are tender and gentle and love when Mummy and Daddy are with you and every night you pick a book and we read together and after that Mummy tells you her ‘Sammy story’, all about when you were born and then Mummy and Daddy do their best rendition of ‘The Three Little Pigs’ which obviously includes all the voices and the best performance of Big Bad Wolf, courtesy of your Daddy. We have told these two stories to you every night for the last year and they are the ones that calm you and the ones you have to hear before settling down to sleep and we will continue to grant that wish every night darling, if they make you happy.

So, as you head into your new world of being four, we are right here beside you, every step of the way and we can’t wait to see the wonders you show us this year, my love. There will only ever be one you.

One of our favourite books I read you by Nancy Tilman; ‘On the Night You Were Born’, always comes to mind my darling:

On the night you were born

The moon smiled with such wonder

That the stars peaked into see you

And the night wind whispered

“Life will never be the same”

Because there had never been anyone like you…ever in the world.

Happy Birthday my little son, oh and by the way, Mummy and Daddy got you a special present this year, you are going to be a big brother!

 

I love you

Mummy xxx

Sam's Mum

Letters to my son – Your first day at Nursery

 

Dear my Sam,

It has been a while since I have written you a letter, my sweet one. It has been a busy few months, what with the big move and settling in but, Mummy is finally taking a moment to write about your big event this week, well our big event. Today, you started Nursery. Such a momentous day for you and me too.  All Mummies get flutters in their tummies and are anxious about letting their precious ones go, even though they know its the best thing and their little ones will have so much fun. For your Mummy it was slightly different, yes I had the flutters and I was a little excited for you to start this new adventure. I was also scared and anxious at the thought of not being there if you needed me. You see, it’s been you and me kid (obviously your wonderful Daddy is there too) I just mean, I have been with you everyday since they placed you in my arms. My arms have been full every moment since and have held you for your every need. They have forgotten how to be empty. My heart will slowly ache as they relearn to be without you my darling. I realise that it may sound silly, as you are not off to school all day or anything, well not yet. However, you have needed me more than some, the fact that you are even ready to explore and try this new experience fills me with so much pride. You have grown so much, your confidence in how you move now astounds me, watching you climb up the soft play and zoom down the slide with all the other children makes my heart soar. I observe you with utter wonder, and love watching you navigate this new environment with excitement instead of trepidation. You giggle and light up watching other children, I can see you studying their faces and beaming back as they smile. You are finding your own ways and learning about this big old world of socialising, don’t worry, even I get confused sometimes baby, you are doing just fine.

We walked into to your new Nursery together and the excitement took you, the room was full of children and things to explore. Off you went and Mummy had the fun task of filling in forms, I glanced over to where you were sat on the carpet, you had discovered a small bucket of pens and had emptied them out to observe them properly, of course. The other children had began to slowly gather around you, well you were the new kid and obviously fascinating. I looked back to my paperwork for a second and then within a moment heard your cry. My pen left my hand as I rose suddenly. You rarely cry my little one, you are my happy boy and so I knew where the panicked upset had come from. The children had all swooped in and taken a pen, probably suddenly intrigued by these pens that were bringing you so much joy. And yet unintentionally they had not given you enough time to explore each one and enjoy them, before you would be ready to let them go. One of the Nursery ladies was at your side before me and asked what was wrong and where you would like the pens. I had just been chatting with her and she understood. She asked if you wanted them back in the bucket and you sobbed and said no and then asked about putting them on the the floor and you replied “on the floor”.  Your little shoulders relaxed and all was right again. I was still frozen in the same spot, half way between you and where I had been sitting before. It had taken every fiber of my being to stay in that place and not run to you. So many thoughts flashed through my mind, but the first one was, maybe he’s not quite ready, will they understand what he needs. And that my dear one, is why it is a little harder for Mummy, because I know you. I know why you need things to be a certain way and why you like your jam sandwich in little squares followed by a banana and sometimes some cheese shapes, the same each day.  I know you prefer a straw and haven’t quite mastered a cup yet, you don’t associate that with drinking your juice. You always make me smile when we practice and you make the slurping sound and the “ahhh” as if you have just tasted the best drink ever, when I know you didn’t swallow a drop. Trust me darling, if you can zoom down slides after being scared of heights, cups will be a doddle! I know Nursery will be scary for you at times too, your anxiety will overwhelm you as you try to understand and learn to interact with the other children. I continued to watch you for a few moments, before returning to my seat and you were back to my happy boy. I couldn’t help but keep glancing your way and at one point another little boy came over and took a pen, instead of getting upset you leant over to take it back, and between the two of you had a good snatch and finally settled on him having one and you kept the rest. That sums up this world my son, you will have to fight for what you want and also learn to compromise too. And at three years old, it starts with pens!

After finishing the paperwork, I was asked if I wanted to stay with you or try leaving you for a little while. Deep down I heard my self say, actually I’ll just take him with me, I miss his hand in mine, but the strong Mama came out instead and I said “ok, I can leave him for a little while.” You waved and said “Bye Mummy!” I love hearing your little voice, especially when you are saying my name, and I left. I missed you instantly, and wondered constantly what you were up to. And yes, I checked my watch until it was time to come back to you. I tried to walk in all calmly, but my feet were giving me away and I almost skipped towards you. You were sat on the carpet with all the other children, watching the interactive white board, enthralled. You still had a little collection of things, and were happily listening along. I knelt down and stroked your cheek, you turned and looked up and your face lit up and you said “Hi Mummy!” in such a happy excited voice and then held my face in your hands and gave me a big kiss. And in that moment you told me “It’s ok Mummy, I’m fine” thank you my sweet boy for telling me in the best way you can. We may not have the typical conversations that most three year olds have with their Mummies when they leave Nursery after a busy day, the usual “Did you have fun?’, ‘What did you play with”, Did you play with your friends?” but we will darling. And until then I could listen to a million “Hi Mummy!”s and know how blessed I am.

I love you,

Mummy xxx

 

Sam's Mum

Letters to my son – You are my brave

 

 

Dear my Sam,

For a moment I’m sat in this apartment feeling slightly lost, the hours seem endless and I’m missing home. I look up and see your smiling face and immediately my strength renews and I can keep moving forward. In those big blue eyes, I see brave. You see, my little love, everyday for you is unexpected and full of unpredictability. There are times when I ask you something and while waiting to hear your sweet voice, I see your eyes glaze a little, a flash of uncertainty darts across them and I know you are working so hard to process what I have said and how I want you to respond. From the carefree moment of swirling your mini A320 plane around through the air, your world has now stood still. In that second you were soaring the skies, free as a bird or more likely a plane, but for now I have made the skies disappear and with that I have aimed expectation your way. And yet,  you do not turn away from me, you stand and try your hardest to give me what I’m asking. You inspire me sweet boy, I hope I tell you that enough one day. You never give up, in a world that spins against you sometimes, you plant your feet firmly and you push back. I see brave, and in that moment while you are holding so tight against the sheer force of it, and it threatens to knock you off your feet, you always stand firm. And I know, if I could, I would use every part of my being to hold it still for you, but we know the world will never cease to spin and so you stand firm my boy and I will stand firm, right beside you.

We took you to the splash pad this weekend and you loved it, the pure excitement that radiated from you, as you saw other children was beautiful. Mummy and Daddy stand on the sidelines, just far enough away to give you space and let you explore, but close enough so you know we are still there. The ways you communicate are limitless baby, I see it and yet you do not always get the reaction you seek. Most of the children are learning from social rulebooks they don’t even know they already own. You my darling, didn’t get a copy of theirs. So as you try to learn their imposed rules, you are always referencing your own book. When they run through the water soaking themselves you giggle and run on the spot, beaming as you sing one of your favorite songs. I can’t think of a better way to tell the world you are happy. Mummy and Daddy watch you observe everything and you now put your foot over the jets as they spray upwards, as you have watched the others do many times. You see how excited it makes them and you share in that, by tentatively placing your own foot with theirs. United for a moment, all smiling, all having fun. And for every time I have felt lost, or afraid, I look at you and am in awe. You are my brave. I was meant to be your Mummy, you chose me. You fought the odds and you continue to do that, in little ways, everyday. After a long while playing in the splash pad, I gave you a 5 minute timer, so that you knew what to expect. You then took my hand, no fuss and we changed you out of your wet clothes. You were sat on my lap giggling away, it was infectious. We didn’t know what was making you laugh so much, that didn’t matter, we couldn’t help but laugh too. Then you munched on your cereal bar and I snuggled into your neck and breathed in my sweet boy. We stayed at the theme park a while longer, it had been a long, hot day and Mummy and Daddy were feeling the weight of our busy day, so obviously by then you were getting tired too. We brought you home and placed you in the bath, where usually you love to explore and play with the water, but you sat, in quiet stillness. Your beautiful eyes glazed in deep thought. For now your words had left too and you were looking at your hands, slowly opening and closing them. I knelt down beside you and placed my hands under yours, and followed your lead, gently opening and closing my hands as you watched. You turned your head towards me, with the softest look, leaned in and touched your little lips to my face. And I felt our hearts connect and it was as if you said, “You get it Mummy”  We didn’t need words my darling.

I love you.

 

Love Mummy xxx

 

 

 

By Jade-Marie Sinclair-Harris

Spectrum Sunday
Sam's Mum

A Mother’s Choice…

 

Today my sweet friend is bringing her second little girl into the world. I imagine she is full of anticipation, some excitement and most definitely a slight dash of fear.  Very soon, she will be a mother of two, that’s going to take a little adjusting to and that daunting feeling of, ‘Will I be able to do this?’ will, undoubtedly cross her mind. However, for today, it will be fleeting.  That fresh little bundle will be placed in her arms and all she will see is love and will be in awe of this new life she created, excited to get to know her and be her Mummy too.

I am so happy for her and excited to hear the news that she has arrived safely and that both of them are well. However, walking alongside my joy for her is the echo of sadness for me. You see, whenever another friend takes that next step into the ‘Mummy of Two Club’, the reality and stark contrast of our journeys are brought to light. I am a Mummy of one, a little boy, Sam, who has brought a light to this world, the likes of which, I could never have dreamed. He is innocence personified and radiates love and happiness.  I fully note that this may be seen as biased, but anyone who meets my little boy can’t help but smile, he draws you in and when he looks at you, he makes you feel like the most special person in the world. I’m sure you are thinking that I seem to be pretty happy with what I have and you would be right. My son is cheeky, warm, clever, musical and loving and he has autism. It is a part of him, but is not the only part that defines him. When I talk about the echoes of sadness I feel in relation to my friends, it is by no means for the little boy I have been blessed with, it is the more the journey itself.

When my son was born I was part of the new ‘Mummy and Me Club’, we all had newborns, all first time mothers navigating through this terrifying journey we had been thrust into. There were the sleepless nights, the nappy explosions, the teething. We were a tribe and had complete empathy and understanding of each others experiences. At that point, we were all pretty traumatised by this new mother world, but also strangely falling more in love by the day. No-one was ready to embark on having another just yet, but we discussed thoughts and tentative plans. Most of us definitely thought we wanted siblings for our first, adored angel. Some had a preference of wanting them close in age, maybe two years apart, others preferred a little longer to recover! They decided three years was the perfect gap.

When I was young, I wanted eight children. Yes. Yes, just reread that again, eight. I was a proper little Mummy and with being the eldest of four, I was able to play this role out nicely. I think it suited me and also gave me a lovely, healthy dose of perspective. By the time I was off to Drama school, I had systematically gone from wanting eight, to six, to four, to two, to most recently, zero. Obviously, being only nineteen does that to you and that suited me just fine, although to be honest I was never really serious about wanting none, but it sounded good and always made people chuckle.

So after many years later and falling in love, marrying my soulmate and moving to Hong Kong, we were starting to get baby fever. This was entirely the fault of living on an expat island, surrounded by families and new babies. I still hold them responsible.  Well, a little. It had nothing to do with my womb actually aching, every woman knows what I mean by this. I used to think, how do women just suddenly feel broody?  Well, I found my answer. We had always had the romantic discussions of having a family one day and dreamily talking about our future little ‘mini-me’s’. We had agreed on two children, as you do. Both having siblings ourselves influenced our prospective decision. After our beautiful boy entered our world, we both thought a three year age gap would be nice if we still wanted to have another.

Well, here we are almost three and half years later, during that time, we have moved countries again, we have also had a less than typical journey as parents. Not less, just different. I must say it has been filled with some of the most joy I have ever felt and that has been in the little moments, ones that may have gone unnoticed had we been on a more typical path. The saying; “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans” seems to ring true, especially for us. I do not profess to know what other friends experience through their parenting journeys on a daily basis.  Trust me, I know that being a parent in general takes a huge part of you. However, as far as I know they are parenting ‘typical’ children. Now, to many who are reading this and feel that may be a strange way to describe it, well, the one thing that special needs parents can’t abide is the word ‘normal’.  There really is no ‘normal’.  How boring would that be?  We are all unique. In the Autism world, children who are on the spectrum are neurodiverse and children who are not are neurotypical, hence the use of ‘typical’.

So, for me the plans to have another child have shifted. Sam has been my sole focus since the moment I held him. He is my heart and I really haven’t thought about wanting another until recently. My head and my heart are at different airports, so until they decide which way to jet off  to together, it is still just a floating idea.  As much as I am not a fan of functioning labels, Sam has ‘high functioning autism’. It is very similar to Aspergers but differs due to speech delay. He really is making huge progress at the moment and his speech is coming on leaps and bounds. I will never get tired of hearing him say, ‘Mummy!” I am truly blessed to hear his call.

I seem to have have digressed, a little back story was needed to frame the picture. I had plans to give my little boy a sibling, hoping to be carrying the growing weight of our second child before my first had blown out his three candles. And yet, I am not where I thought I’d be or maybe assumed I’d be. For one thing, my sweet soul, cried sad tears when we sang Happy Birthday to him.  The tune was too low and unpredictable. I do sympathise my boy, I believe only the Voices of Liberty at Epcot could make that song sound any good.

I certainly haven’t felt particularly broody, I haven’t had time to. I have honestly felt that Sam has needed me completely.  There is just no way I could have split my attention between two little ones, especially with having no family around for support.  They are literally an ocean away.  When hubby goes off to work, its just me and Sam. His independence has been gently strolling up the mountain, taking in the views as he goes. There’s no hurry and no race to the finish line.  He needs his Mummy and thats that. And so, I have been and am, Sam’s Mummy. Solely his.

However, more recently and certainly within the last six months, my old tribe of ‘Mummy and Me’s’, have started the next chapter of their parenting story. They are having that sibling we all tentatively talked about in those few months after our first arrived. They are ready. Why wouldn’t they be?  Their paths have stayed in line, they didn’t veer off down a different route.  I was the only one singled out for that path. Their ‘Mummy and Me’ groups will evolve to ‘Mummy Plus Two Clubs’ and they will share new experiences of only having one pair of hands or having constant mummy guilt over having two little people needing you at the same time. Mostly, they will share how much love they see between the two siblings, even if the firstborn originally wanted to send the second back. They will feel content and have that blissful moment of, “This is exactly how it was supposed to be, just how I planned.” And that, however wistful it seems, is what I can never have. I will never be afforded that carefree feeling of just deciding to have another baby. For me, there will always be more to think about.

So yes, there are echo’s of sadness when I see a new announcement from my old tribe “Guess who is going to be a big sister/brother”, or “Baby no.2- coming Christmas 2016”, because, there was a time when I thought I would be joining them.  Ready to be a Mummy of two.  And for just that moment, I feel like I am being left behind. That’s not us, not yet. And that’s ok. And even though this is my choice at the moment, really, it doesn’t feel like it’s been wholly my choice.

So, when I started the walk down this different path a while ago now, I took a last look behind me, as the other Mums kept on going straight, chatting away further in to the distance. I realised, I would have to find a completely new tribe. The old tribe will still always be there, but I won’t always feel like I fit. And in those moments, I will need my new tribe to lift me up and remind me that it’s ok and that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. I chose Sam, over all else. Has it been a bit of a lonely walk so far?  Hell, yes. Would I have chosen the straight path over the beautiful gift I was given?  Hell, no. And deep down there is still a little part of my heart, that loves just being a three!

 

 

 

By Jade-Marie Sinclair-Harris

 

 

Diary of an imperfect mum
Spectrum Sunday
A Cornish Mum
Sam's Mum

You came back for me…

 

It’s Therapy day or Thursday as it is known to many. Thursday used to be one of those uneventful days, it’s just past the hump day and not quite a giver of that Friday feeling. This particular day, which was never really very noteworthy in my impression of the week, now holds a weight that causes me to catch my breath. On Monday, I feel like a lighthouse, warning the Thursday ship to stay in the distance with my impenetrable beam, but as it creeps closer, I know I will have to allow it to eventually dock.

When your child needs a little extra help, a multitude of feelings consume you. Sometimes they are easily hidden beneath an invisible veil, concealed so deeply that it would take an eternity to find the bottom of the well. Other times they emerge, peeking through the surface and betraying you over and over. With Thursday, on goes the veil and the perfected smile that reassures my little boy that Mummy is happy and everything will be ok. That smile and that look, the one he needs so completely, is the one I have worked so hard on.  Like an actor learning her part, it is the most important role I will play for him all week.

The week speeds with velocity towards this day, my mind begins to prepare; the bulkheads come down, creating a watertight compartment from which I draw strength. I’m trying desperately to ignore the echoes of my heart behind the steel doors. My little one faces his own path of preparation, age is not on his side for this, allowing him a mere five minutes to really process that he will soon be leaving his safe place. We try to give him as much time as he needs, but I sometimes see the panic dash across his face, the little helpless look at the collection of trains and planes he’s been happily immersed in. He’s trying desperately to pick which ones to take with him, but the fear and anxiety of having to leave is making it tough on him.

I search his beautiful eyes with mine and utter softly, “OK, pick two toys baby”, his panic escalates and he murmurs “Mummy help”. In those two words I know exactly what he needs me to do; I hold out my hands and he gently bends down selecting toys to place in them, he knows he can’t carry all of them himself. I watch intently as he collects his favorites, I know which ones they are even if he can’t yet tell me. Within minutes we manage more than I initially planned, yet somewhere in our exchange was a silent compromise. His small face relaxes with a smile and I know he is content and for that I will gladly carry; the AirForce and the whole of Tidmouth sheds.

Approaching the familiar therapy building teeming with a little apprehension, we step through together and you burst through with the exuberance of a sunflower seeking the sun’s warm rays. My happy, confident boy ready to greet the world.

‘’Hi!’’ you say, as Nicole your lovely therapist heads towards us, she assists another as you strut past independently down the hall, she smiles and says “It’s fine, he can go straight in”. I return her smile warmly as I watch her leave and it is in that moment that I feel it, a small hand hold mine. I turn and look down to see that perfect face, the one I once tried to imagine before he was placed in my arms, my beautiful boy.

The very moment I thought you didn’t need me, you came to find me. I believed that you had marched off to the beat of your own drum, to the room you knew, where you could explore new found treasures awaiting you. And yet, half way there you paused, the beat stopped and you thought, “I need my Mummy too.” You came back for me. You took my hand and gently guided me, telling me to come with you, that you didn’t want to be alone. Our bond transcended every other instinct you felt and my darling, it made my heart soar. Being a Mummy, you accept that however your child expresses their love, they need you, but today my sweet boy, you came back for me and I really knew.

 

 

By Jade-Marie Sinclair-Harris

 

Diary of an imperfect mum
Sam's Mum

A letter to my son…I’ll wait

 

Dear my Sam,

Hello my darling, today has been quite a momentous day for you, well us too. Today you climbed on to your Mickey ride-along car and actually rode it down the hall. You have had that little car since your 2nd birthday, when Nanny and Grandad excitedly gave it to you. And today at the grand old age of 3 and 1 month you actually rode it.

The moment you lifted your leg and sat your little bum down on the seat my breath caught in my chest, I stood waiting to see whether you would just climb back off or just sit still. You then put your hands on the mini steering wheel and you started to move your legs, both together and began riding yourself down the hall. My throat grew tight, the lump rose higher, as my eyes responded with tears. I have heard the saying your heart bursts with love for your children, but my sweet son with you it bursts everyday. My heart swells so much with pride, it feels as if it will literally burst through my chest.

You see to many other parents I am sure they feel this pride as their children ride on their toys, jump on the trampoline, say their first words even. But for you all of these things are a little harder. This week Mummy and Daddy took you see the developmental pediatrician, an appointment we have been waiting for, for months. She spent some time with you, I hope you don’t remember that at one point she pretended to cry and you looked at her, your bottom lip went and your little face crumpled into sobs. you ran to me and looked over at her saying, “happy, happy” willing her to smile again. My sweet sensitive soul, I hate that it upset you. She did assessments with you, Mummy and Daddy looked on as our clever boy impressed her, at one point she asked if you knew any letters. Daddy and I looked at each other and tried to hide a smirk, all of them I said. Hey, I’m one proud Mama, if I could of, I would have stood on that table and shouted it for all to hear.

She asked you questions, she played with you, she watched you. We watched you. There were times when your responses ticked all her mental boxes and there were other times when I could tell what she was thinking.

By the end of the appointment, she spoke to us and confirmed feelings I have had since you were my toddling 18 month old. She told us that you were displaying traits of Autism, that you were also incredibly smart, that you had high functioning autism.

I have always known that you were special, that you see the world a little differently. When it was just you and me in that small flat in Hong Kong, nineteen floors up. The times when I felt so alone and so scared for my little boy, was I doing enough for you, was I loving you enough. I have held you everyday of your life my darling, you have my whole heart and every struggle or difficulty you face, I face too.

You amaze us everyday, do you know that? You work harder than any 3 year old I know. At the moment you are having speech therapy, which is going really well. I am also working with you as always on occupational therapy, especially as you find it hard to transition from one thing to the next. It’s ok my darling, I know its scary sometimes, you don’t always know whats coming next and that makes you anxious. I will always tell you whats coming, don’t you worry.

When we talk together and I ask you, are you hungry? and you repeat it back to me, or you pull me close and say “What’s that amazing smell?’’ and we both say together “mmmm. Chocolate!” Just like Anna and Elsa do. I am learning so much from every way that you communicate with me. Our hearts are tied and I will always find a way to understand what you need. And when everything is too much and you get overwhelmed, I will hold you or just stay and wait for you to come back to me.

I know sometimes you know exactly what you want to say, but it takes a little longer for you to process. I have all the time in the world baby, I’ll wait. You listen to me and I can see that look come across your face when you are concentrating and trying to say the right thing, the thing you think I’m waiting to hear. Always know that anything you say is what I want to hear. And when you say “Mummy, Mummy” when you need me, it is the most beautiful sound I have ever heard. There was a time when I didn’t know If I would ever hear you call me. I would have been ok with that too. I love you.

Mummy xxx

 

 

By Jade-Marie Sinclair-Harris

Diary of an imperfect mum