Lyndsay is both a mom and a dad to son “M”. While she suffers from physical pain every day, her son lights her life in a thousand ways, his own struggles with autism not withstanding. Here is how.
I am a single mother and I have Fibromyalgia, a chronic pain disorder that can also cause chronic fatigue. As a result, I have not had a pain-free moment in 14 years. When I say that, it’s not an over exaggeration, it’s a fact. I live in constant pain. Some days are better than others, but they are all painful. I am also hyper-mobile which causes my joints to sublex. My ankles, knees, hips and shoulders are the worst culprits but my wrists, fingers, toes and some other areas have been known to act up too. This all being said, I try to keep a good attitude and live a happy life around this. I try to see things differently. For example. for most people, it would take about 15-20 minutes to walk to the store near my house, grab some things pay for them and bring them back home (It’s not far at all). For me on the other hand, it takes a LOT longer. At minimum it takes just over an hour, but usually it’s an hour and a half to two hours. So — instead, I try to go when I can bring my favorite little man with me and we make it into a fun thing.
Now, here is where we get to the exciting part, my darling 8 year old son; who from this point forward I will refer to as “M”. Going on these walks with him, just makes it all that much more tolerable. The pain and the fact that it takes me so much longer gives me an opportunity to spend time with him. We laugh, we play and we just enjoy being together and it makes it all so much easier to take. We talk a bit when we start out but almost right away M will say, “Let’s play Mommy!” Usually the game is car themed (Cars, Cars 2, Hot Wheels, Racing games, Transformers etc.). Sometimes we will pretend that the mall is the enemies’ hide out and they have some of our allies being held captive. We need to find a way to infiltrate, free our allies and collect the valuable information that is needed to stop their plot of world domination.
We play this both on the way there and on the way back. For a long time it will be the same game, over and over again, but that’s fine. Other times we talk and act silly and he will run for me while I sing “Flash” by Queen. (Yes, I know that is “Flash Gordon” and not “The Flash” but it’s an awesome song and he likes it.) The walk is physically painful and so tiring, the whole thing will take a lot out of me, but I LOVE it. During our walks there are no distractions. No computer, no TV, no video games, no other people and unless it is an absolute emergency, no phone. (I’m one of those people who only uses my cell phone if I have to and even then I hate it. The only thing I really like about having a cell, other than for emergencies or situations where I may be out and someone needs to get a hold of me for something to do with M, is for the camera. I love to take pictures and videos of him). We get a lot of funny looks, but I never mind. So long as M is giggling away, I could care less what anyone else thinks.
I need a lot of rest because of my health. I am unable to work and when I put my son to bed, I lie down as well which means that I don’t have a social life. But we cuddle up each night and he reads to me and then we spend some time just unwinding while I read and he either reads or plays on his playbook before lights out.
M is my world. He is smart, funny, sweet, kind, he has the most infectious laugh in the world and the biggest heart. He is the go to guy for hugs and if you’re in need of some cheering up. He is so incredible and I wouldn’t change a thing about him. He is on the Autism spectrum and this is a part of who he is. He is very high functioning. He is in a mainstreamed class and while Autism creates challenges for him when it comes to some things like anxiety, sensory issues, social cues, norms and situations and communication and language difficulties, it also is just part of the over all awesome person he is. Overall academically, he does great. He loves math and is good at it, he’s a great reader. He is an artist and I truly mean that. His art is so beautiful, it really amazes me.
This is one of M’s amazing works of art. He did this entirely using Plasticine on canvas. He would take tiny amounts and blend the colors. It is based on a Tom Hiddleson work and was done during one of his art classes he takes after school. His teacher is amazing and teachers them so many different mediums.
He is a car fanatic. He knows so much about cars and as a result now I do too, although he still knows more than me. His knowledge of cars amazes me and he can recognize so many cars, I don’t know how he does it. He not only knows the cars but he has an understanding of the science behind them as well as the history. He is Hot Wheels mad. He has so many Hot Wheels I couldn’t begin to think of a number, well over 200 I would say (that’s probably a really low estimate) and yet he knows every one he has and when he earns a new one, (this is our form of currency and rewards) he will not only know right away if he has it but he will know what color/paint job he has it in. I have handed him a car and had him say “WAIT!” run upstairs, grab one of his Hot Wheels readers and say “Look, here it is on page 5 but that one is black and this one is green and sure enough, there is the same car you just handed him in a different color drawn on the page. He has done this many times. He has slept with his hot wheels many times and has even had me make a bed for them in his bed where I have had to use a face cloth to create a pillow and a blanket to make a bed. He loves music.
He is my world and I cherish every moment with him. I feel (and I hope every single parent who is reading this feels the same way) like the luckiest person in the entire world to be his mother.
Originally appeared on Fibro Autism Mommy.