She’s Mine, My Daughter with Autism

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So I have this little girl, she’s mine. She’s wacky and wild. She’s vivacious and bold. She lives it up. She’s absolutely beautiful and when she speaks it’s the cutest thing I may have ever heard (aside from my other children speaking when they were little). She’s perfection in so many ways, a true miracle and part of an amazing story that is yet to be written.

She’s all these wonderful things and she is the most terrifying and challenging thing I have ever dealt with.

She came from the womb of a very young woman who came extremely close to ending her life through abortion. She was fed drugs and alcohol as she grew in this woman’s belly. And she was given to my husband and his late wife upon her birth. She was born with autism and a miraculous little brain that does not process things the way most brains do. Three years later and she came into my world with joy and beauty and an energy that cannot be contained. She calls me mommy and I am her mommy.

She has severe autism, is verbal and has a light about her that you’ve never seen before. She wants to hug everyone…and I really do mean everyone. She wants at least three hugs from me before she goes to bed. She also wants to grab every single thing that looks like it might be the least bit interesting…which is pretty much 95% of all the things in the world. She would wander far away in public, well more likely run away, if not self-contained in a shopping cart while running errands. She’s heavy now and getting heavier every day. She kicks me innumerable times a day while I change her clothes and diapers. She hates to have her hair brushed or touched which is a problem of almost epic proportions for both her and me. She has more energy than any child I have ever laid eyes on. She is 5 yet nowhere near potty-trained. (This not uncommon in children with severe autism.)

She screams and shrieks any chance she gets, for good and bad. She giggles with the ferocity of a child gone mad and then she giggles with the tenderness of a small child, too. She runs away from me at every chance she gets. She is satisfied with an activity for 5 minutes at a time maximum. She sees the fun and joy in the smallest of things and makes toys out of candy wrappers and rubber bands like nobody’s business. She loves to shake things, which includes un-inflated balloons, doorknobs, tags, bags, cups, bowls with tiny things in them, anything that can be shaken, she’ll shake it. She also likes to get jello legs when she doesn’t want to do something which means that mommy has to pick her up or pull her along in a very non-graceful fashion. When she wants something she wants it NOW. She has little to no ability to wait. She also loves music, to sing and to be sung to… and to dance. She has amazing rhythm. She also slams doors and opens them, a lot. She’s particularly fond of turning lights on and off while you are in the bathroom, too. This can be a challenge at a time when most people would like to make sure they see what they are doing. And how she loves baths and the pool and could play in and with water for days on end. She’s been asking about summer since September.

She’s mine. I need to be a good mommy to her as well as the other 4 children in our home. I really need to be a superhero. I need 8 arms and elasticity like Elastigirl in The Incredibles. (Remember her, she’s like the best mom ever!) I need permanent earplugs implanted. I need strong arms and legs and a back that never hurts. I definitely need to be taller because putting her in a shopping cart is a big chore, if she fits, when you’re a short mommy. I need patience, an endless supply of patience intravenously infused would be nice. I need help. I need for my soft heart to not be hardened and to be not too soft, too.

She’s mine and I love her to the ends of the earth. I can tell I do when she is sick or hurt and mommy mode kicks into full gear. I can tell I do when I talk to her about nothing or something for the 100th time in a row. I can tell I do when I bathe her and clothe her and get her something she is obsessed with for the 20th time that day. I can tell I do when I sing her 50 children’s songs while waiting for the bus. I can tell I do because I die a little when she says she loves me or lays her head on my shoulder. I can tell I do because I can tell you that she’s mine.