My exhausted body drops into the couch. My legs are splayed over the coffee table. I reach over to my abandoned coffee cup. I carefully take a sip to only find out it has gone cold. With a big sigh I get off the couch to dump the remains into the sink. I step aside my three-year-old daughter who is racing around the dining room and into the living room. Her Santa hat goes flying in the air as she turns the corner.
I refill my coffee cup and amble to sit down again. We have just returned from a doctor’s appointment after dropping my oldest daughter off at kindergarten. My youngest is beginning the steps to have therapy to help her autistic behaviours. She was also up very early this morning. The weight of the sleep and stress exhaustion makes me grumpy. I kick a toy to the side and sit down again.
For the past year I have witnessed my girl grow slowly through the development milestones. Her speech is also delayed. We began the search for the right programs and therapies after the assessments that diagnosed her with ASD (autism spectrum disorder.) For some reason she is deciding sleep is not an option lately. The constricting guilt of if I am at fault as to why she received the label keeps me up at night. I wonder if it had to be me being put under for her birth. The planned caesarean was hampered by my back not able to receive the spinal tap or epidural. Her big size didn’t help. I wonder if I didn’t eat something I should have while pregnant. I had seven months of morning sickness while pregnant with her. And once again, like a million times before, when I start going down this road I cry.
I hear her giggle bounce off the walls as she rounds the corner to run through the rooms. Her senses love certain textures and movement. So she is wearing her Santa hat and a ballet tutu for the sixth day in a row. Since she is three, we allow her the happiness the ensemble gives her. When she is sixteen it might not look so ‘normal’ at school. She runs around again only this time to barrel towards me. I open my arms to receive the biggest bear hug. Her hat comes loose. She hands it to me so I can put it back on. She bounces up again and is off. My guilty reverie fades as her hug reminds me of one thing, she is my daughter. I am lucky to be her mom.