How many of us have dreamt of being that parent who has the most amazing bond with their child? The one that other parents feel jealous of, that friendship like no other. I know I did. I used to ask myself, has my child grown into that person I had in those dreams long ago? Did I expect him to look more like me? Did I expect him to love the same music as me? Did I expect him to be taller or smaller? Now I ask myself the bigger question, did I expect my child to be diagnosed with autism? No, but has autism given me that friendship like no other?
This unique friendship is something I had to work for. See I am a mom to a three-year-old boy named Fennec and he has a diagnosis of autism. When I fell pregnant I had these enormous dreams of being the coolest most fun-loving mother. A mother the world would look at and see such happiness and positivity. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case at the beginning. All this love, affection and fun play time I saw with other families, well it wasn’t there in ours. Fennec didn’t look at me, didn’t speak, didn’t like to be hugged, kissed but worst of all I felt I had no connection with him, no friendship. I knew I loved him but I honestly didn’t know if he loved me. It was all getting to much and loneliness was creeping into our lives uninvited, I knew something had to change, I knew I needed to change.
Throughout my years of growing up I discovered the best way of venting my feelings was by being creative in some crazy way. Thankfully while at this rock bottom stage, the crafty side of me kicked in full force. I decided there and then I would write a blog called “The Foxy Potato”. I wanted to fill this blog with sensory games and fun learning techniques you can make and do at home with children with additional needs. My mind suddenly opened up to a whole new world, introducing colour and movement but best of all an amazing unexpected friendship with Fennec. I became very excited about it all, we tried everything out together no matter how messy, sticky, even smelly our experiments were, we had a blast and we still do. This became our way of bonding and almost like therapy, it helped me cope with Fennec’s diagnoses and it helped Fennec to cope with his sensory issues and anxiety. We discovered that surrounding ourselves with so much colour and fun made our days more positive and we became so much happier. We became best friends.
FSeeing the smile on his face when we spray the shower in shaving foam or fill the bath with green slime or run across a garden filled with paint between our toes, makes being a crafty crazy momma all worth it. Its messy that’s for sure, but hey they won’t be small forever and I see this as making the best type of memories. This blog became a great hit and I started to get messages saying it has helped families play together and discover the true meaning of friendship. This gave me such a passion and drive for wanting to help people and families like ours. Not only did the blog become a success but Fennec started to communicate with me, asking me to play certain games and genuinely enjoying our time together. He loves to watch back the video’s I make of our daily mischief madness, leading to the most wonderful hugs and kisses of admiration. My dream of being that cool funky mom has come true but never did I think it would be this magnificent. Fennecs has made me the parent I am today but autism pushed me to be inspired.
Now ask yourself this, can you find that creativity in you to help you along whatever journey you are taking? Yes, because creativity is inside all of us. My biggest advice is just look deep down inside you and see what aspect in your life inspires you the most. Work with whatever tools or materials you are most comfortable with, be it art, cooking, sports, technology anything that excites you. Believe me when I say once you begin discovering this journey of creativity, it will lead to nothing more than feelings of positive achievements, not only for you but for your child. Remember this, never teach your child to aim for perfection in a world that’s so imperfect, instead change how you see things