I’m excited to share Patti’s story with you today. Patti’s journey through motherhood is a challenging one, and I’m continually inspired by her resilience and her attitude of faith despite setbacks many of us would find so daunting. She’s an amazing mom, and a skilled advocate for her children. This is her story:
My husband Mike and I have four children.
That is a statement that stops a lot of people as it is something they seem to need to absorb. Then when I say their ages they often congratulate me and say, “Wow you have your hands full. I don’t know how you do it.”
It’s okay though, I need the ego boost because the truth is, there are days that I think I am the worst mom ever and after I pray and regroup, I am ready to go again. “I am an human. It’s okay.” I tell myself, and it is okay. My kids are perfect and I am doing the best I can with what gifts I have been given.
My life is my normal. Some people work and parent. I work at being a parent.
I am not saying that others don’t but I have had to study up on Autism as my son Ryan,10, was diagnosed at 4 with Autism PDD NOS. In plain English, that is Pervasive Development Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified.
Thomas is also diagnosed Autism PDD NOS ADHD.
Zoe has ADHD (so does her mother) which is Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder.
Ruth has DS or Down Syndrome.
That is a handful of doctor’s notes and research! All of those acronyms indeed take a lot of energy to memorize. They all mean we have a gene via our Maker through Mike or I (and I don’t want to know).
Except for Ruth. She is just another random act of God and a reminder if how precious life is. Ruth is a blessing and is adored by everyone who meets her. Her 4 therapists plus a social worker through the Children’s Network, rave about her. She goes to Junior Kindergarten this September and the teachers are excited.
There are those rundown, tired days where I am not sure if I will make it. Laundry, dishes, lunches, chores, homework, forms, forms, forms to fill out, sports, doctors, groceries, bills…..and so on.
You, know, the mom thing times four.
It is said that He never gives us more than we can handle. That phrase often makes me wonder if God thinks I’m Wonder Woman. I’d wear her outfit because she was a diva (haha) but no, I am not Wonder Woman.
There is a lot on my plate and it is evident when I peer over laundry mountain, over to the abyss of lightly used clothing my family has been blessed with, I can gratefully say we are surrounded by a community abundant with love. We are truly blessed, not burdened.
School is the place that I need to brace myself for. That is the sole reason the kids are diagnosed.
They are very talented in their own ways. Some areas they excel and others they struggle. Special Ed. Departments need the labels to be able to apply IEP’s (Individual Education Plan) in order to gear learning toward an individual.
I tell myself that when I go to a meeting at school to talk about my anxieties that my sons and daughter are getting all they extra help they may need and that people need to be aware that they are almost silently different. They don’t even pay attention to the world around them sometimes and it’s like they have gone someplace better.
If I didn’t get involved though they would be passed over or punished for being lazy. Teachers don’t automatically know about special needs.
I have fought and cried with people at the school. There have been days I thought life was so unfair but I choose to look at life with a sense of humour and a little humility. If my child gets a C in math and tried their best with the resources available, then hey, I’m happy. They are good kids and constantly make me laugh at their randomness.
My kids are high functioning on the Spectrum of Autism and labelled as such so they can receive the best care possible medically and academically.
They are good kids and no matter what label society needs to ensure they get the best education and job possible for them to succeed in this system that our country has created. They are perfect just as they are.
I have learned also that I need to take care of me in order to be top notch for them. We take Goju karate together and keep fit and focused. Ryan can now focus much better and is proud of the medals he has won in tournaments. Zoe is a ballerina and Thomas is a cowboy and takes lessons at our friend’s farm. We also have a house full of rescue animals that reside in our home (a small zoo) and, well that is another story.
The kids are compassionate, normal, high energy and intelligent.
Mike and I are the parents of four kids. We succeed, we fail and we pray and regroup for the next day.
Patti lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband Mike, and their four kids.