After dinner one night this week, my husband planted face down in the bed with a sigh (he'd had a REALLY long day at school). Craving a conversation (or perhaps just breathing the same air) with another adult, I curled up under his arm. Within seconds, the dog (a boxer) was "spooning" with us. Then my son came and stood next to the bed, smiling, humming and flapping his arms. My husband took his free arm and scooped him up to join us. My daughter walked in, "What about me?!" We quickly rearranged (a feat in a queen-sized bed) and snuggled up with her as well. "I think we need a bigger bed," I said. "Yeah, I'm kind of feeling like Angela's Ashes, here," my husband piped in. "Sigh...well, while we're all here, I have an announcement.....I love you all," I said.
Just like marriage, one doesn't have a whole lot to go on about parenting except the example of their parents (which, in a predominantly split-household generation may not be the best) and magazines. I remember being so pissed that parenting wasn't like Parenting magazine. It's not all lovingly wiping snotty noses and little baby caresses and butterflies and rainbows. I would say, "especially in a special-needs household" but I really have nothing to compare it to. I do know that every family has their challenges, though, and autism (amongst other "normal" things) is our family challenge. When my friend suggested I read an article from (you guessed it) Parenting magazine regarding Autism, the part that resonated with me was the accounts from other mothers who had been there, done that. "Autism is not the end of the world; just the end of one kind of world," Susan Senator. I teared up. My friend had suggested this article saying, "I know you probably know all that stuff but it may help you feel not so alone." Funny, Autism means, "alone." But, as I laid bed with my little nuclear family, I realized Michael and the rest of us are not alone by any stretch of the imagination. Everyone in that little bed felt secure and happy. A huge smile crept across my face. We had done it. For better or for worse, we created our own family brand of happy.