Yesterday my "baby" turned six.
Holy crap, how is that even possible?
Did you know that six is one THIRD of the way to 18?
Does. Not. Compute.
Yesterday also happened to be the first day of Grade one. So much excitement in one day!
Hell, there is SO MUCH "excitement" happening around here these days...
On Friday afternoon, I went from being gainfully employed at a pretty decent job, to packing up four years worth of work mementos into a dinky little cardboard box, and walking out the door. (Not without a few tears, I may add.) It was surreal, and terrifying, and FREEING all at the same time.
I left my job because I am needed here, at home, more than at my job. My kids need me. Specifically, my newly minted six year old needs me. In the presence of only an "unofficial" (but what we all feel is quite accurate) diagnosis, it would seem to be that Griffin has Asperger's Syndrome.
We have always known from day one that something was different with Griffin. His behavior wasn't typical, and it's been a long road to figure out why. Thanks to an extra-special teacher that taught Griffin through Junior and Senior Kindergarten, we've finally come to this place of a diagnosis. We're continuing down the path of getting it made official, but we're looking at about a 12 month wait to get into see the person that can even make that diagnosis (good lord.) He's on the moderate end of the scale, but he's certainly on it.
So here we are, at the start of a new school year, with a new teacher in a new school. A new roll for Mama, a new routine for both the boys. A new house, in a new community. And I truly feel that we're in the best possible place that we can be for all of this to go down. The support of the community here is INCREDIBLE, and is exactly what we need here. Knowing that we're not in this alone makes all the difference in the world.
I've been researching, reading books and websites, and learning about my son and how to help him. Because it really is a whole new set of skills that we need to figure out, all of us. (Which is good, because most days I'm feeling like I'm at the end of the skill set that I already have...I am glad there are new ones to learn.) There are also big diet changes to be made - I'm just delving into the world of potential food changes that may just help smooth the road. I am thankful every day for the internet and the wealth of information that is out there, but sometimes it feels like it is SO MUCH and I don't even know where to start. But I'm starting, and that's what matters.
And in all of these changes and challenges, there is Griffin.
Griffin is incredibly intelligent, with a vocabulary that amazes many adults. He has amazing perseverance at tasks that he's truly interested in. He can be so very kind, and loving, and so desperately wants to be loved back...and he is, oh how he is! We love this kids to bits, and both Steve and I see so much of ourselves in him. But I compare his behavior to a pendulum - he mostly lives in the two extreme ends of the swing of the pendulum, and rarely hangs out in the moderate middle. One of the biggest things I want out of all of this, is for HIM to understand who he is. I want him to know that he is NOT stupid, and nobody hates him (two things which come out of his mouth on a regular basis.) He only needs to learn how to deal with this condition, so he can thrive.
And he WILL thrive. I can see the positive sides of this condition already. Because of their tendancy to focus and fixate on certain things, kids with Asperger's often grow to become "experts in the field" on their chosen topic. Griffin at 4 could tell you more things about dinosaurs than most adults knew. He's spent the past few nights assembling two Lego ships that he got for his birthday - fairly complicated pieces of construction, and he sat down and did them both, start to finish, with hardly a helping hand. He's highly intelligent, and succeeds at most things that he puts his mind to. This kid is going to be just fine.
So. It's all about working with the teachers at his school. Reading and researching and advocating. And loving, loving, loving the heck out of this kid.
And lots of very deep breaths.
We love you, kid. We're so proud of you, and who you've already become, and can't wait to see where we go from here!