I began blogging after my middle child, Daniel, was diagnosed with autism in May 2010 while I was pregnant with my 3rd child. After the birth of my daughter Chloe, who would've thought that she too would be diagnosed in April 2012. And in May of 2016, I became a motherless daughter. This is the journey of how we as are dealing with two autism diagnoses, an older child that often feels left out of the autism equation and the loss of my Matriarch. This is our journey. The Molina Family.
DJ began his series of autism safety swimming classes which he got through a scholarship.
I knew DJ would be ecstatic. So throughout the day, I prepared what I would take with me to keep Chloe (and Adriana) occupied while DJ completes his first lesson.
The lesson brought about the biggest meltdown from both Chloe and DJ that I have ever experienced in all my time. Granted, they have meltdowns. But...
(This is where having two autistic children gets tricky).
Silly me. I thought Chloe would be able to handle the fact that her big brother was frolicking in the water as she sat in the bleachers as a spectator. But as she gazed at that pool water longingly, I knew I was going to be in trouble when she uttered the words, "swimming pool."
Man, that girl got a set of pipes on her!
Kicking, screaming, scratching.
The air was humid and hot.
There were people everywhere.
I was blinded, she knocked my glasses off.
I was sweating, dripping. Couldn't breath.
I could see that I lost her in the meltdown when suddenly... it was time for DJ to come out of the pool.
Many of you may know what it's like to be in the mist of a meltdown. But nothing can prepare you for double meltdown. Not even me; "Super Mom."
So as I take all of my children to get them in the locker room to change DJ and hightail it out of there, a very reluctant big sister lagged behind us in sheer horror and embarrassment.
In the locker room was when the real "fun" began.
DJ on the floor, screaming, crying, kicking. Refusing to get up.
Chloe standing, slapping, kicking and screaming. At one point, stepping right on DJ.
Adriana off at a far away bench with a face that read, "I'm not with them."
I sat and tried to control both of them while keeping a watchful eye on Adriana.
And then suddenly, DJ and Chloe are slapping each other! Brawling! One was trying to get the other to quit it so that they can calm down. But they had set each other off, there was no turning back. And I just broke down.
Tears. More than the two of them combined.
Why was this happening? What steps did I miss that allowed this escalation of emotions to rock this locker room?
I drifted out of myself as I sat there crying. Then after about 15/20 minutes? something washed over me. I felt another part of me say to myself, "Get up and get it together!"
So I got up, told a screaming Chloe, "Let's go wash your face. We're done crying." I washed her face, my face. As I calmed down, she calmed down, DJ calmed down. We were all emotionally and physically exhausted.
The meltdown came with such a ferocity and then was done!
But the weekend continued with other parallel meltdowns although not as epic as the last but still rattling.
Water, the not being able to splash around in delight until all hours, seems to be the one thing that can trigger both of them at the same time. Who knew?
There is no way of knowing what will trigger a meltdown. Meltdowns could come with a situation that a child is familiar with or a new situation. It's something that happens. Whenever. Wherever.
And once they are in meltdown mode, their iPad doesn't matter, favorite toy, book, candy. Nothing.
I beat myself up last week because of it. I was embarrassed and angry, with that day in particular.
But as I reflected throughout the week, I said to myself, "I did all I could and next time I'll be better prepared." I worked with Chloe the whole week. "DJ swimming pool, yes. Chloe swimming pool, no." "DJ swimming pool, yes. Chloe swimming pool, no." "DJ swimming pool, yes. Chloe swimming pool, no."
Over and over.
Those kids of last weekend didn't even bat an eyelash yesterday. Not a huff, a tear or a whimper. But this week, I was better prepared.
Blessed are they who will mourn in sorrow; they will be comforted. Bless us, O Lord, when we share their sorrow; bless us, O Lord, our God. We are the light of the world; may our light shine before all, that they may see the good that we do, and give glory to God.
I took up journaling a year ago to have an outlet for my grief. In addition to writing how I felt, I also wrote endless letters to my mother in hopes that the words I wrote on paper would reach her. I picked the above because it has spoken to me for many years, since attending church with my mother as a child and when I think of her, it's what my heart says to me.
Well, I made it. A full year without you and I am still breathing. I remember the day leading up to your death, asking God to take my life in exchange for yours. In those hours, I did not care who I would leave behind nor who would miss me. All that I knew and felt deep in my heart was that your life was worth more than mine. That night I had a horrendous p…
"Mourning is the constant reawakening that things are now different." -Stephanie Ericsson Today, I've been dealing with my mother's death for the past four months. It still seems to me like a bad dream from which I cannot wake.
Grieving is so different for everyone. When I first moved down here to Florida, to her home, I didn't feel her anywhere. I would lie on my bed, my eyes closed, my body still, waiting for her to come to me in some way. I would cook in her kitchen and wait for a glimpse of her and I got nothing. Then I took the step to see her in her final resting place.
I told myself that I'd never be ready to see her there but one day, when the pain got to be too much, I needed to see my mother. I think that was the hardest thing I'd ever done. It was so jarring to see her name in that place and to know, she's in there. She's actually in there. It's not a bad dream. She. Is. In. There. My mother. In there. I broke down instantly.
When someone you love passes away, the first year is always the hardest. The holiday season can bring about such emotional turmoil that many of us that have lost someone are not able to handle it. I am no different.
My Year of Firsts began with Father's Day. I always remember being able to call my mother to ask her for the hundredth time, "What should I get Papi for Father's Day?" This year, I had no one to ask.
Chloe graduated from Kindergarten and my mother did not see the pictures of the celebration.
Daniel turned 8 and she wasn't the first one to call him to wish him a happy birthday.
Adriana even started menstruating and I couldn't call my mother to express the horror that my 10 year old was ascending into womanhood so early.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. THE first Thanksgiving without her and the reality is taking a toll on me. It started just last week, at her 6th month mark. Migraines, sleeplessness, exhaustion. Reality just keeps hitting me over and ove…