I’ll Be There

In the car ride after the very first ultrasound of my first child, I distinctly remember being at a stoplight and hearing the Mariah Carey rendition of “I’ll Be There” on the radio.  That time it brought me happy tears, knowing that I was given the treasured opportunity to do just that for my unborn, much wanted child.  Blame the hormones…  It never crossed my mind that I may have to offer more until after my cherished daughter was diagnosed with autism.

Although I have endured situations with my daughter that were uncomfortable, nerve-racking and unexpected as well as joyful, lately I’ve wanted so much to increase her independence.  On the autism spectrum, E would be considered high-functioning which puts her in a positive, yet awkward position – too neurotypical and independent in some situations; too atypical and dependent in others.      However, I’ve neglected to remember that she’s still a child who needs her mother.  Most 11-year-olds do, I suppose.

E cannot brush her hair or teeth by herself very well and cannot tie her shoes.  She still needs help shampooing her hair which is long but so pretty I can’t bear to see it short.  She struggles academically, and I’m not quite sure what her true grade-level is and if it really matters.  Sometimes, I get frustrated and sigh when she calls out, “Time to brush my teeth, Mom!”  Why is it such a big deal to me? Am I just being lazy and irresponsible? Why, oh, why am I in such a hurry for her to grow up? Am I feeling the delayed reaction to her delays which truly are not the worst they could be?  Am I covering up my fear and depression that she won’t be independent as an adult? That she’ll miss out on the life she dreams of? And the one I dream of for her?

What needs to happen is I must help her and encourage her to be independent by figuring out easy steps for her to eventually accomplish these tasks on her own.  I need to praise her when she’s made those progressions – not always expressing my exasperation.  With the strides she’s already made, whether through education and therapy she’s received and/or lessons and training learned through us, I should feel very blessed.  She can speak in sentences, is potty-trained, reads independently (and with great inflection, I may add); has many hobbies like reading, playing with dolls, putting together puzzles, and cheerleading; loves make-up, clothes, jewelry, purses, and listening to the Grease soundtrack as well as Taylor Swift and Katy Perry; and thankfully, sasses us like any typical tween as well as bickering with her brother J.  Those last two things alone tell me that she’s maturing and developing like any other girl her age.   Who knew that I’d be happy with sassing and sibling fights?  But it speaks volumes to me that maybe everything in her future will be okay.

I mean, really, I didn’t even know how to do laundry until I learned from a college friend in my freshman year.  “Wash everything in cold!” she exclaimed.  And as for cooking, I can do the bare minimum, but I wasn’t lying when I swooned to learn that my husband B loves to cook.  As for sports, if you read my past blog, “A Wicked Fly Ball This Way Comes,” you know I couldn’t catch a ball to save my life…unless it’s with my butt.

So I’m back to remembering that long ago evening stuck at a stoplight, feeling strangely moved by a song, and hoping it inspires me to continue to help that little girl who has happily upended my life and stolen a piece of my heart.    Just like my marital vows to my husband, I also made a commitment to my daughter, and intend to keep it.  I’ll be there for you, E.

This is an original post for JerseyMomsBlog by M.B. Sanok

About M.B. Sanok

M.B. Sanok works as a stay-at-home mom attempting housework in her book-cluttered home while holding court on the phone and volunteering for the International MOMS Club. Raised in a Northern New Jersey town, she relocated to South Jersey for love and has a beautiful, mildly autistic eleven-year old daughter; a schmoozing, mischievous eight-year old son; and occasional thoughts of a third. Her current mantra: So little time to achieve greatness when my life is tied to meeting buses. Her accomplishments include being in the second grade reading class in the first grade, dressing up in full make-up as Ace Frehley from Kiss for her high school Lip Synch, writing horoscopes in college masked as one of the infamous Psycho Swamis, and, most recently, catching a fly ball with her butt at her first minor league baseball game. She started her writing career as a lowly reporter for her middle school newspaper, progressed to writing furiously in her journal and passing notes in class as a teenager, helming her college newspaper as a stressed out Editor-in-Chief, rejecting classified ads for massage parlors for a local newspaper and getting fired from her second publishing job for not remembering or knowing enough about the rival company’s secret website passwords. MB loves reading, writing, puzzles, music, and her husband, children, friends and family. She is the Executive Editor for South Jersey MOM www.southjerseymom.com magazine and a Contributing Writer for Jersey Moms Blog. She also volunteers as a State Coordinator for the International MOMS Club http://www.momsclub.org/. Some of her blogs have appeared on the MetroKids MomSpeak website which won the Gold Award for Best Blog in the 2013 Parenting Media Association’s Editorial and Design Awards Competition. The Monmouth County issue of The County Woman featured her and her blog post, “Updating My Stay-At-Home Mom Status”, in their “Woman in Profile” section in the July/August 2012 issue. She made her radio debut on March 6, 2013, on author and baby expert Blythe Lipman’s Baby & Toddler Instructions Live Internet Radio Talk Show on www.toginet.com.

About M.B. Sanok

M.B. Sanok works as a stay-at-home mom attempting housework in her book-cluttered home while holding court on the phone and volunteering for the International MOMS Club. Raised in a Northern New Jersey town, she relocated to South Jersey for love and has a beautiful, mildly autistic eleven-year old daughter; a schmoozing, mischievous eight-year old son; and occasional thoughts of a third. Her current mantra: So little time to achieve greatness when my life is tied to meeting buses.

Her accomplishments include being in the second grade reading class in the first grade, dressing up in full make-up as Ace Frehley from Kiss for her high school Lip Synch, writing horoscopes in college masked as one of the infamous Psycho Swamis, and, most recently, catching a fly ball with her butt at her first minor league baseball game. She started her writing career as a lowly reporter for her middle school newspaper, progressed to writing furiously in her journal and passing notes in class as a teenager, helming her college newspaper as a stressed out Editor-in-Chief, rejecting classified ads for massage parlors for a local newspaper and getting fired from her second publishing job for not remembering or knowing enough about the rival company’s secret website passwords.

MB loves reading, writing, puzzles, music, and her husband, children, friends and family. She is the Executive Editor for South Jersey MOM www.southjerseymom.com magazine and a Contributing Writer for Jersey Moms Blog. She also volunteers as a State Coordinator for the International MOMS Club http://www.momsclub.org/. Some of her blogs have appeared on the MetroKids MomSpeak website which won the Gold Award for Best Blog in the 2013 Parenting Media Association’s Editorial and Design Awards Competition. The Monmouth County issue of The County Woman featured her and her blog post, “Updating My Stay-At-Home Mom Status”, in their “Woman in Profile” section in the July/August 2012 issue. She made her radio debut on March 6, 2013, on author and baby expert Blythe Lipman’s Baby & Toddler Instructions Live Internet Radio Talk Show on www.toginet.com.

Comments

  1. Christina Surretsky Christina Surretsky says:

    What a beautiful and moving post MB!

  2. MB says:

    Thank you!

  3. Renee says:

    Thank you for this. I have a 9 year old boy on the Spectrum, it helps to know others go through the same daily struggles, the same question of “Am I a good mother?” But know that you do your best and you are all your daughter needs.

  4. Liz Kingsley Liz Kingsley says:

    Very brave admissions about the frustrations you feel, while you know it could be worse. That’s so normal. You’re so not alone!

  5. Melissa Melissa says:

    Beautiful!!!!

  6. Nancy says:

    Beautifully written Mary Beth!

  7. Trish says:

    As a parent of a HF autistic child, I can relate to so much that you have written. As an educator of children with special needs and one who has seen the remarkable advances E has made over the years, I can only imagine how proud you are of her each day. I, also have a typical 11 year old, and E’s sassy attitude is right on target.

  8. Ro says:

    E is a wonderful young lady who will be independent because she has a family that will work with her and guide her in the right direction!!!

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