Meet Mo's supermom
I remember saying the following sentence very soon after my son was diagnosed with autism:
"I have accepted that Moeez is autistic and I am going to deal with it to the best of my ability".
I was proud of myself for not being in denial even for a short while and wasting no time in strategising and implementing a therapeutic course for my son. Thus, as far the word 'acceptance' in its generic connotations is understood, I had aced the act!
I think that most parents of special needs children will agree that the path of raising their special children is often strewn with extreme emotions.
There is celebration on the one end of the emotional spectrum and heartache on the other.
With stereotypical children this upheaval is not so emphatic, at least that is how I have experienced it. For instance, where my other two (stereotypical) boys are concerned, I am not easily distressed by the ups and downs in their lives just as I am not overly exuberant of their success.
Therefore, it is not hard for me to accept that Murad, who is a very talented sportsman, has not excelled in any sport due to his lack of passion and neither am I heartbroken that Mikail plays no sports at all considering both my husband and I are quite sporty and very fitness conscious.
Am I an awful mother?
I don't think so.
It's just that the challenges that I have faced with Mo have turned me into a 'chilled out mom' as far as my other children.
Anyway going back to 'acceptance', as the years flew by I realised that the act of 'acceptance' in the context of Mo's lifelong challenges was a recurrent theme in my life which replayed every now and then following the latter's developmental trajectory.
As Mo grew in years following an uneven path of successes and setbacks, I constantly had to toggle the barometer of 'acceptance' with relation to him.
Along my journey with Mo I had to 'accept' that:
Mainstream school for Mo was not a suitable option anymore and that he would have to go to a special school.
He would probably stimm through his life and standout in public as odd while doing so.
That Mo would have to opt for a life skills path and not go down the academic route.
That he would never be able to lead a fully independent life
That Mo would probably never have a friend in the true sense of the word.
That he would not grow taller than his 5ft height no matter how many stones I turned. So on and so forth.
Thus, whereas during the very first few weeks of Mo's diagnosis, I was convinced that I had dealt with 'accepting' autism, it kept on piling new challenges on me through the ensuing years to date -- challenges whose reality I had to learn to accept.
'Acceptance' has definitely become easier with time but I know now that it is a continuous process and not a one-time thing. This is just the nature of the unpredictability of autism.
‘What did I do to deserve this child?’
I often ask myself, “What did I do to deserve Mo? Why me? Why?”
Now before you jump to conclusions about my questions and just in case you are thinking, “How can she talk like that about her son, what a #@*%^%$#”, please bite your tongue. Now read the questions again, this time with positive connotations and then proceed to read my answer below:
"I don’t know what I did to deserve Mo. What I do know is that God really loves me for He gave Mo to me"
Still the skeptics amongst you may continue to think “Oh, she is just saying it to fool herself. After all what is the blessing in having a special needs child, a child who will never outgrow his autism, perhaps never be able to live independently? Surely she is still in denial, tsk, tsk”!
Dear skeptics, below are just a few reasons why I am so blessed to be Mo’s mother and I want to talk about them because sometimes, like today, I have this overwhelming need to share my gratitude with others. Hence, the following:
Through Mo I have learned to look at the glass as half full rather than half empty; to be grateful for the blessings that but for him I probably would have taken for granted such as: the act of spontaneous breathing, deep and unhindered; the ability to tie my shoe laces without thinking; the ease with which I read, write and remember things; the way I can tell instinctively what the other person is thinking or feeling and so much more.
Because of Mo I continue to experience immense joy in the simplest of things such as: a song sung completely off key, a joke repeated a dozen times with recurrent delight, a cricket ball pitched straight at the batsman, a word used for the first time in a sentence and much much more.
Thanks to Mo every time I come across someone with a disability or a difference I feel love and respect, a warmth that comes from a vicarious connection that transcends ordinary bonds.
By means of Mo I have found the purpose of my life through my work. He has taught me how to give without asking, be patient in adversity, believe in miracles and persevere tirelessly.
So when the question that I asked at the beginning begs for attention I simply repeat the answer that makes the most sense to me “God loves me for He gave me Mo”!
This post originally appeared on Huma Durrani’s blog and has been reproduced with permission. To read Huma’s story, grab a copy of her book Wrapped in Blue.