Well, here we are in 2021. My husband and I were able to get vaccinated. He was very tempted to just keep to his LOA for the remainder of the school year, but he ended up going back to work at the end of February. There are lots of routines and procedures at work. Even though he has been vaccinated, he still wears double masks daily. For lunch, he eats a protein bar outside away from others. We did not bother to bring his mini fridge and microwave back to his classroom this school year. He heads straight to the shower after work and I am washing everything on warm/hot just in case. While some days I wish that public school could have worked out for our kids, I am so thankful for the choices and sacrifices we made so many years ago. This pandemic has not disrupted our kids' education one bit. Because T's drum teacher is high-risk, we have been able to do weekly virtual drum lessons as well. This has really helped to keep that routine for T.
Our angel's special day came and went this past March. We made a cake for him and his brothers helped. They also made that cake disappear! They are growing up SO fast and I know I say that often, but it's true. They are teenagers and even though they eat regular meals and snacks, they seem to always be ready for a meal. N comes up in conversation here and there. Over the years, I've dwelled quietly on what life would be like with three little boys doing this or that activity. Now, they openly wonder and make comments. No question is off the table when it comes to N. I still might cry when trying to explain or share details of how events unfolded. By now, D and T both know that Mom's tears mean processing and pride. They remember him and I hope they always will. We had a little garage fundraiser for March for Babies, but my newer neighborhood doesn't seem to groove on garage sales. We're also still in a pandemic, so I get it and people are trying to take care of so many things right now.
All month long, we have been lighting it up blue each and every night in support of Autism Acceptance. Yes, we are making the shift from awareness to acceptance and really, that just needs to apply to each and every one of us in this world. When I think about where we were in our autism journey 12 years ago, it was just beginning. As parents, we were making observations and wondering. We shared concerns with our pediatrician at the time who was cautious about referring him for testing. T was diagnosed at 4.5 years old. I took a LOA from my teaching job, started applying for services, and spent the next 8 years driving from one therapy office to another. One of my favorite things to do was to wait for T's Live Lesson schedule for school, then I could plan or reschedule therapies around it if possible. I'd map out our daily therapy routes, bank locations, and post office drops to try to get some errands done at the same. I was trying to use my gas wisely and make the most out of the mileage. It forced me to learn freeways and parts of cities unfamiliar to me. It became this chaotic adventure and I started to feel like a road warrior. My goal was to get to therapy on time hoping that I remembered to pack everything we needed to get through our day while on the road. When I think of the hours I spent driving, the hours spent sitting in therapy lobbies (because at many places one is not allowed to leave and come back) and not just me, but D coming with me to most of them. They were very long days.
We've been doing a lot of virtual sensory cooking classes and D helps out there as well. D willingly wants to help his brother and wants to learn how to make new foods at home. He also knows that his parents occasionally float their Best Buy rewards certificates his way when they land in our inbox. They are really good friends though and they are learning so many wonderful things from each other.
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