Owen and Ben's Journey Through Autism

Owen and Ben's Journey Through Autism

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Took some time for My Family and Myself - Update and Promise

Yes, I did the unthinkable and took sometime for my beautiful family, and most importantly, being a 28 year old mom of 3 kids - I did what no mother really thinks she, "should" do; I took sometime for myself.

Taking time for yourself as a parent, in my opinion - is needed. Whether it is doing groceries by yourself, playing a sport, going to the gym, a drink with the girls - whatever it is, it is needed. It re energizes us for what is to come tomorrow. I never used to do this; and when I would once in a blue moon, I felt guilty. What happened to that mom I used to be? Right. She had 3 kids, and 2 of them have, "special needs" that's what happened. People often wonder how I can be so bubbly all the time, why everyday I show up to work with a big smile on my face and jumping from spot to spot- because I have learned last year, to put myself first. How can I be the mom I need to be for my children, the advocate for my boys, the dress-up barbie player for my daughter? It is because, Ryan thought it would be a good idea for me to play soccer again, and then I wanted to escape my feelings of anger and depression and joined the gym for an outlet that turned into a love affair with the gym; because I wanted my friends to be my shoulder to laugh and to cry on so I make time for them; it is all about your priorities, and about putting yourself in your life equation, not always last and think you are doing your spouse, children or family a favour. You cannot be a better YOU, without taking care of yourself :)

Alright, after that rant and rave here is an update on our life in the past 2 months.

December - was filled with me still recovering from my surgery, and getting ready for Christmas. We had a flood in our basement way back in September, and FINALLY a week before Christmas our insurance came through, and with a TON of help from my father in law and brother in law, our basement was redone. It looks beautiful, and was just in time for Christmas. We also got to watch Maddie and Owen in their first Christmas concert together; which was wonderful. On the 18th, I also returned to work, after having 2 full months off. I missed the kids so much, but it has been nice to be back doing something I love. Christmas was amazing - one of the first we had where we were able to stay home till noon-ish, and no be rushed vising family, it was wonderful. New Years Eve was spent cuddling my kids into the wee hours of the morning, Owen was the only one who made it till midnight - Obvi :)

January - not to eventful as of last week I have to say, when it comes to family things. We have been getting back into the swing of going to school again, and Maddie is back at cheer leading and loving it.

Then came Tuesday morning. A phone call we have been waiting almost 3 years to get; Owen will be entering Bethesda for 24 hour a week covered IBI therapy and they need to meet with Ryan and I to discuss all the details - all in all, this means we are close... really close, I can taste it. What could get better?

Thursday morning (THIS morning). A phone call I have been also waiting for for 6 months, from McMaster Health Sciences regarding Ben's assessment to be approved to be on the wait list that Owen is getting off of soon (putting Ben probably at number 80 if we are lucky) After listening to her explain who Ben was and what he was doing in August, that he was about a year behind, in the 2nd-5th percentile of ASD. She ended on where she sees him on the Spectrum - she sees Ben at being MILD!!! ahhhhh!!! Mild with some, "Moderate" tendencies. This means, that Ben has a very low form of Autism, but he still is effected by repetitive movements (like flapping, spinning, lining up etc). This is VERY encouraging for us, and for Benjamin's future. Compared to Owen, who is Moderate-Severe, this is a big difference in our world of Autism, but each still coming with it's own rewards and challenges.

I don't think my heart could take anymore wonderful news; it is filled to the top!! We have emotionally struggled so much, not only Ryan and I, but our families as well. We have had 2 successful fundraisers to help cover the cost of therapy for 3 years, to help us pay for iPads for our boys to communicate, to help us pay for preschool as much as possible, as preschool introduces the child to social situations, help with separation, and also introduces structure to a day that these children so desperately crave. We walk every year in the Autism Ontario's Cycle for Autism, wearing our Owen and Ben t-shirts proudly because we love and believe in these boys so much. For the past 3 years, I have gone to speak in High schools and Owen's class, because education is the best advocacy I as a parent can provide.We have driven from appointment to appointment, play based group to respite programs - and Tuesday and today is the reason it has all been worth it. All of this in the past 3 years, have made this week alone worth it.

We are very far from where we need to go, but in our journey, it is a step in the right direction.

I promise I will write more; there is going to be so much to write.


  1. I am so happy for you both!! You have to be one of the strongest people I know Vanessa, and I am so proud to call you a "friend"


  2. Great post - and great mom. You continue to motivate the rest of us. :) spot

  3. Awww Nicole and Sara; thank you both so VERY much for your beautiful words!! and thank you both for being in our lives Xoxoxox