Was I scared to death when we moved? YES!! However, I knew it was the best for Trenton. We lived in a state at the time that just didn't provide much for kids with severe autism. I do not regret moving one bit! I am falling in love with Terre Haute and the state of Indiana more and more each day. Nonetheless, it is not easy living in a city with no family close by to help. It is not just the help that we miss but what the boys and I miss most is a quiet, familiar house to go to. We have NO WHERE to go to! We go to Harsha, preschool, church, and our house. If the boys are not at Harsha, preschool or church, we are home.
I can't tell you how much this really stinks! It is just not me, it is really starting to get to the boys. They only see their house through the week and they are just fine with that. However, when it comes to the weekends, they have had enough by Saturday afternoon. They want to go somewhere but we just can't! We don't know anyone good enough to just drop in.....lets face it....its just not dropping in like a normal family. If we drop in on someone it is a guarantee that their house will be left looking like a war zone. They might have a few things broken or completely destroyed in a matter of minutes and lets just face it....it is not fun following the boys around someone elses house because I have to constantly be guiding them and prompting them on what to do and not to do. It's not relaxing at all. It is nothing but more stress upon stress already. The only house that they were ever comfortable in and that I felt comfortable in trying to relax is my parents house. After all, we lived next door to them for a few years so this was our home away from home. It was our house to go to, to get away from our house. So with that said, we have no house here in Terre Haute to go to...the boys need a different environment.
So, what do I do to survive the weekend?! The boys and I normally take a few rides in the van. We can't go to a store. Trenton is unable to manage himself in a store. I look forward to the day when I can at least take them to a fast food place. Unfortunately, that is not feasible by myself yet. Therefore, we enjoy rides in the van and most of the time that is just more stress too because both boys are aggravated and they tend to fight a lot. It is just a no win situation.
When I was driving the boys around over the weekend, I found myself feeling so "alone." There was so many people out and about. The parking lots were packed at restaurants, stores, you name it- it had a full parking lot. I just felt so alone. Here I was driving around Terre Haute because we can't get out and enjoy walking into the grocery store for a snack. I felt so isolated away from the rest of the world. We are prisoners in our own house and van and can't go anywhere else. It is a terrible, lonely feeling!
It is just not the stress of being trapped in our home on the weekends but it is also the stress of church by ourselves as well. Church can be doable but it is stressful!!!!!!!!!!! I just wish I had one more person to walk into church with me and it would be so much easier! At my church here in Terre Haute, I am very lucky to have Amanda, a dear friend I met in the church, who sits with me and helps me with the boys. We make sure the boys sit between us to keep Trenton in the pews. If I don't have another adult with me, then Trenton escapes and runs around the church. Andrew is very needy and attached to me more than he ever used to be in social settings such as church. I think it is because of his anxiety and he finds comfort in me. Therefore, controlling Trenton and Andrew in church is very difficult but doable with the help of our friend, Amanda. However, it is beyond stressful because I never know when either child will snap and have a meltdown. In spite of that, we had a successful day yesterday at church and I couldn't have been happier!
A few weeks ago I left Trenton home with his Dad while Andrew and I went to church. I felt terrible doing it but the stress on me is terrible taking both of them to church by myself. However, Tim told me that Trenton cried and tantrum the entire time I was gone. He went to the door saying, "Mommy." repeatedly. I felt terrible! When Tim told me this I just wanted to vomit. It was clear to me that Trenton wants to go to church. He wants to participate and do things but it is just simply hard for him. After that day, I decided that I would never leave Trenton behind with his Dad again! If Trenton can't handle church, then Andrew and I will stay with him.
The stress on the weekends is unbearable at times but we get through it. I plan and have to be prepared for the weekends before they come. Since I can't go into the store if we run out of something, I have to make sure I have everything ready to go before I pick Trenton up at Harsha on Friday afternoon. Raising children with autism is very difficult and hard. It is very doable but it just takes lots and lots of hard work. As I was told one day last week and it is something that I have always said, "An autism parent can never let their guard down. It is hard work 24/7." I couldn't agree more with that. Yes, I would love to be able to relax a bit on the weekends but I can't. It is 24/7 around the clock hard work....it's nothing and I mean nothing like parenting a child with no disabilities. So please count your blessings parents of children with no disabilities! Parenting isn't easy for anyone but when special needs is a part of your life...it is really not easy! However, God has blessed me with so much! My boys are my heroes and the greatest teachers that I have ever had. I am so blessed to be their Mommy. We live our "new normal" and do the best we can:) God never promised us an easy, care-free life. Honestly, would we want a care-free life? I'm not sure about you, but the trials and tribulations in my life has only made me a stronger, better person and with that said, I am very thankful for my trials and tribulations.
Psalm 118: 14-16
14 The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation
Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: "The LORD's right hand4 has done mighty things!
References for Psalms 118:15
I will leave you with a few pictures ....
Andrew and Mommy having some fun in a store on Friday while Trenton was at Harsha
While the boys played outside on Saturday I was able to get some yard work done with the help from this little guy.