Despite his anti-anxiety medication, Gabriel still tends to fixate on the time. He knows his morning routine down to the minute and becomes agitated if he believes he is falling behind. It’s hard for me to help him overcome this obsession, because I empathize. I also love schedules and order, though I don’t cry or have a panic attack if we leave the house at 8:41 instead of 8:40. Then again, the world isn’t a constant unpredictable assault on my nervous system, as it is for Gabriel. Autism dictates the morning routine must proceed as scheduled if my son is to leave for school in a calm frame of mind conducive to learning.
As I plop down beside Gabriel, I shove my hair out of my eyes and discover yogurt in my eyebrows. I love my son and everything about him. I just always thought I’d get a tiny piece of my old self back when he went to school full-time. I didn’t anticipate the hours of research and advocacy required to untangle his complex set of needs, nor the fatigue that comes with it. I wouldn’t trade him for anything, but this was not supposed to be my life.
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