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.
The saddest thing my father has told me since my mother died was, "She was waiting for you."
Me and my mom in my christening outfit
In March of this year, Danny and I found out that the owner of the house we rented was putting the house up for sale. And given New York's surging rent prices, it was proving difficult to find a place to live that was suitable for the kids as well as near to their current schools. When I gave my mother the news, her response to me was, "Move over here."
That was my mother's solutions for all my financial woes, "Live with us." But given that services for special needs children are scarce from state to state, my biggest fear was losing their services in New York and the kids being stuck in a school environment that would not address and stimulate their needs.
Little that I know that the choice to move to Florida would be made for me.
We all know losing a mother is tough. All the things that could have been flash before …
Here I sit alone on a dusty dresser, my owner gone from sight. She wears me faithfully to show the world her loyalty and love for her husband and the dedication for her children. I do not know where she would have gone. It seems like an eternity since she has held me.
We are inseparable.
Sometimes she takes me off when I get in the way. When she calls it a night, she lies me down carefully, linked in her watch, until it is time for us to begin our day again. I am always close by, never too far from sight.
The places I have been with her!
Memories of the road trips we have shared.
Visiting her children in different states.
Our final move to this house.
The day we were first introduced.
The feelings of love, immeasurable. So many stories and so many good times.
As the years wore on, she was a bit more low key and did not travel as much. We mostly went to church or shopping with the man she loved.
My favorite times with her are when we were alone and she sits to reflect on her life when i…
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…