I will begin this post with a disclaimer; this is not a pity party but instead a poke-me-in-the-eyes-reality-check.
I have spent the last 8 years allowing my girl to recluse herself in her room more often than not. I have chosen to not deal with meltdowns and anxiety in order to keep the peace. I have justified this all with the idea that she is in school, working hard socially and I wanted to create a safe place for her at home. I was tired of visuals everywhere, tired of constant changes in routine to teach flexibility, tired of scripted social interactions that had no emotion, just plain tired. So I laid down to the Autism. I laid down to the anxiety.
In reality, I was tired of the suffering. Exhausted from the evaluations. Frightened by the extreme dysregulation that occurred when I worked on the stuff that needed to be worked on. The pulling of eyelashes, the crying, dragging her into school. I was done.
I see now that I stayed done. I stayed done too long. And I now have in front of me a young woman who prefers, rather, insists on staying home, in her room with minimal contact with the rest of the world. She is limited in her ability to tell time or spend money. She is limited in her ability to problem solve. She is limited.
I am attempting to be tender with myself. Attempting. This is not a post where I am looking for reassurance that I did the best I knew how. This is a post where I own my stuff. I own that I chose to let her stay in her room. I own that I didn’t work as hard as I could to develop skills. I own that I took the easy(ier) road. I admit I put my sanity in front of her needs .
Tomorrow is a new day. Opportunities await. Meltdowns will happen. I am armed and ready.
And for the record, this enlightenment comes on a day when I submitted my first ever college essay! No correlation.