Easter and Spring make all things new again and with them, most inevitably, comes change. Not only can it be difficult, but it can be life altering. They say change is good, but if it was good all the time, we all wouldn’t avoid it so much. We would just embrace whatever comes our way. But even if it’s good for us or good will eventually come from it, it is hard to give in.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about change, especially with another April here. These last seven years of having autism as part of our life has been full of non-stop changes that have effected us all. I see how much it has impacted our children and how quickly they are growing up and changing. I see how much my husband and I are aging and yet we’ve gained so much strength. I feel like I’ve changed so much as a person, mostly for the better, I hope. And yet, just when I think I’ve caught up with all the changes and have come to a place where I’ve accepted them all, something else comes around to shake things up.
Our daughter will be eleven this November. That still seems so little to me. For the last year or so, I’ve seen so many changes in her and I think she see is starting to see them in herself too. She’s maturing in many ways and it’s freaking me out. Change has always been hard for her and not having control of certain things can cause her distress. So I know it’s been hard for her.
I’m going through a lot of changes too. Not only are the wrinkles setting in and the white hairs getting harder to cover, but I’m nearing the “change of life” (there I said it!) and it has me a complete and total hot mess. I cry at the drop of a hat lately. Right now I feel like everything is on fast forward and I can’t find the pause button.
I know all kids get a bit ornery in their teen years. I know the tween years can be the beginning of your kids talking back and knowing it all. I would love to say it’s just a little defiance we’re dealing with. But this is different. I mean sure, that’s a small part of it. But this has felt like a struggle for complete independence from me. She’s been pushing me away and it’s breaking my heart.
Granted I’m WAY more sensitive than I would be normally. But how could she not need me anymore? How could she already be tired of my advice, my help, or my company? Lately I have felt so sad that our relationship isn’t what it once was. I’ve made the classic rookie mistakes, engaging in arguments, taking everything she says to me so personally, and letting it all crush me to the core.
She’s trying to feel like she is in control of something. I get it now. The truth is, she still needs me, but not in the same ways she use to. I had always hoped she would mature more, albeit a little behind her peers. Now that day has come. Now she’s growing into a little lady with her own fashion sense, her own ideas, and most definitely her own opinions. I’ve been all caught up in my own emotional roller coaster to really understand that she still needs me, but just in a different way.
Right now she needs me so that she has someone to let loose on after a hard day of doing and being her very best at school. She needs me to listen. She needs me to be firm, but loving. She needs me to be honest. She needs me to not take anything she says or does right now so personally. She needs me to be forgiving, forgetful, understanding, and patient. But more than anything, she needs me to be the one constant in her life. The one person that is always there for her and the one thing that never changes.
Yep, things are changing. We can’t change that. All we can do is accept things as they are and try to roll with the punches. There will be more changes and more difficult seasons like this one. But my daughter and I had a long talk and we made a great plan! Our plan is to change together as a team, but in love, respect, patience, and lots of prayer. We also have a plan for having a lot more fun girl time. There is one thing that will never change and that’s our love for each other. Because nothing, not autism, nor any other change in life can ever take that away. That is one really amazing thing that I’m glad will never change.