It’s been a long time coming. My last blog post. And as with any change, I have procrastinated this moment. I hate change. I may be neuro typical, or neuro typical enough, but change has never been my forte. Meditation, yoga, exercise and journaling have helped me through the last decade and continue to be my main tools of self-care. The teenage years started with a bang in our household, but then again, like with everything Michael has done this part of the journey has been no different. Michael has had many positive moments, but we have riding the tides of the teenage years neuro diverse style. I affectionately nicknamed Michael “My Neurodiverse James Dean”
because, well, you have to laugh through the hard moments to survive them.
My diabetic, ADHD, Autistic son has tested us in ways we had not imagined. Who says because they are neurodiverse they won’t act like neuro typical teens and rebel in very teen ways? Not this Mom anymore! This was pretty much the way his early and middle childhood went. What can I say, life with Michael has always been and will always be an adventure. I am finally seeing how I need to ride the wave of parenthood with lots of coffee, wine, humor, fiction writing, support from my fellow Mom tribes, as well as other supportive family and friends.
I have been so proud of his growing independence, not just with using Waze and Google Maps to go places on his walks and planning our drives and destinations we have gone on as a family, but he has started taking public transit alone, and is able to go into stores and buy and pay for things on his own too. He is not into cooking anymore, but I know he can make basic recipes. The next step is working on cleaning up! We have been so proud of his growing confidence in himself, his father and I did not see the inevitable pitfalls with this, particularly at Fast Food places where he has overindulged in sweets and high carb foods over the summer. This created a very challenging summer with his blood sugars and his frustration that he could not eat like a regular non-diabetic teen.
So we are getting him and ourselves help to handle this hurdle, as we have done with aggression, anxiety and sexuality questions in the past. He is making progress in understanding the do’s and don’ts of eating for someone with Type 1 Diabetes and we are learning how to help him understand healthy eating for a growing teen versus unhealthy eating and using food in a way to cope with stress.
As he ages, we do different mother/son bonding activities and I am happy when he shares both the good and the challenging parts of his life with me and his father. As each day goes by, we are seeing the potential of this amazing young man who just has to find his footing by accessing his strengths and working on fixing his weaknesses. I am amazed by how much he knows and worried about the things he still has to learn. Still, as an Exceptional Mom I am learning the continued value of self-care, when to seek help whether in the form of personal therapy, self-help or parenting books, and when to turn to Michael’s team to support me and remind me why I need to push through a difficult phase.
The thing is, no matter how hard it gets, I am his advocate. He was given to his father and I as we are here to guide him as much as he is here to guide us. We continue to learn from him daily as much about our strengths and weaknesses and about what we need to fix, heal and continue doing. I have moments when I get discouraged, but then I remember my inner Mom Warrior that tells me this journey isn’t always gonna be easy, but it will be worth it. One day when he has reached maturity and takes over the work of advocating for himself and making his way in the world, I will know that I’ve done my job in making him a happy, healthy, well-adjusted human being. What more can any parent want or need?
Now that he is older and his privacy is of utmost importance to me, it is also time for me to say goodbye to this part of my parenting journey-my blog. As with all good things, they must end, but that just means another leg of life is beginning. I have not forgotten the book I wanted to write about my journey as Michael’s Mom and how he has made me a better person. It took a sharp turn four years ago when he came into puberty and diabetes at the same time. The book is a work in progress, and when I am ready, it will see the light of day.
I think the best way to end this part of my parenting journey is with a comment Michael made to me on one of our Mom/son music sharing nights. Michael chose to do something different and share a vlog post about one of his favorite rappers and trap artists, who suffered from debilitating anxiety and was diagnosed with ADHD as a child. Sadly he died a year ago. After viewing the video where the young artist talked about the importance of surrounding yourself with positive energy, people who support you, and having a dream that you are not afraid to build, while helping others who are struggling Michael said, “I want to inspire people like he did Mom. I want to speak and make videos to help kids who suffer anxiety and other things, and feel like they don’t fit in. I also want to help kids who don’t have food, clothes or things like computers to help them learn. I’d like to bring those things to their community and help them succeed.”
That comment from Michael reminded me that this is where he is headed if we continue to steer him in the right direction. One day at a time. So I close my eyes, take a deep breath and smile. I thank all of you for your support over the years and I hope I’ve helped you too in your times of struggle. Know that I share in all your successes with your exceptional kids, and am always with you in spirit.
Thank you and remember, never stop believing in your child or yourself because you are both exceptional human beings.