This post has been a surprisingly difficult one to write! It is so hard to do this topic justice, though I’m sure this is only the first of many posts. I was so privileged to grow up with my amazing sister who was born with spina bifida when I was 3 years old. It wasn’t always fun, and it wasn’t always easy, but I always felt like we were so lucky. I admired the strength of my incredible mother. She never complained and was always positive. Her example was a shining one and still influences my daily life, though in a different way than I had anticipated.
When Veda was born, I knew that she was someone special. I think all parents feel that way to a certain degree, but there really was something special about her. She drew people to her in a way that can only be described as magnetic. I remember her birth like it was yesterday. There was only one breath between the reality that I had known for 25 years, and motherhood. And with that breath brought all the wonders and beauty that life has to offer. Her birth was a little traumatic in reality, but that didn’t change the fact that she was mine and I was hers, forever.
I am Veda’s mom. Veda is brilliant, strong, hilarious, and brave. Veda is capable of amazing things. Veda has Autism. It does not define her, but is part of what makes her amazing and unique. Autism is sort of like one charm on Veda’s super amazing charm bracelet of life. I think she is going to change the world one day.
This is the first time that I have openly talked about Veda’s diagnosis. The irrational fear of her being labeled and the fear that people would feel bad for us were real and legitimate to us in the beginning. The diagnosis doesn’t change a thing for our family, but will open more doors for her. I do really want you to know her (and us) and that means knowing this part of our lives too.
I write about this not only for me, but for all those mamas out there who are looking for answers. Autism is not the same for any two people, and it is especially difficult to diagnose in girls. When I first starting wondering if she had autism I searched the internet for information- blogs, social media, anything that would show me signs of autism. It has been 8 months since she was officially diagnosed, though it is something that we knew in our hearts for much longer. I feel an obligation to share this part of our life here in hopes that it will help you, help your friend, or even just make you giggle. Having a child with autism makes you giggle A LOT!
Being a special needs mom is a bit like being thrown on a Broadway stage never having been given a script. I have never known anything other than being a special needs mom but the truth is, I’m just winging it. As stated before, I have been so beyond blessed to have the perfect example of a mother who is the epitome of everything a special needs mom aspires to be. I try so hard to follow her example, and she has helped me beyond measure. The only difficulty is that her script is for Hamilton and I am on the Gershwin Theatre stage expected to perform Wicked. I’m totally in over my head most days, and some days my sad rendition of “Defying Gravity” is actually doing just that. And I sometimes have to deal with a little witch. HAHA! Just kidding. But seriously.
So here we are with all of our cards on the table. We have really hard days and we have really amazing days. I hope you will be open to me sharing more about it. Because beyond perfect bodies, perfect clothes, and perfect lives, I feel like blogging and social media is a way to connect, to learn, and to be uplifted. This is real life. I am a real mom with yoga pants and a stained hoodie on, with really dirty hair tied up in a top knot. I have a really messy house with real kids- really amazing kids. And one of them is a girl- who along with being smart, brave, and making me laugh so hard I cry, also happens to have autism. She has changed my life and I couldn’t be more grateful or proud of who she is!