Where do I begin? Well let me start by saying this little guy means the world to our family. He brings so much joy to us. In that I have to share that it has been a long hard road for us. As I think back to where we all started on this journey and look at where we are now I know it was nothing but God. So now I am going to share with you this journey of living with a child diagnosed with Autism.
Let me introduce you to Jahmez! Do you see that beautiful smile? This smile just feels my heart with so much love every time I see it. But what I need you to understand is that this was not always the case. Looking back at where he started I didn’t think we would see the day that he would be so joyous. I can recall a time when this little guy would not give us eye contact. It was almost like he would become anxious if you tried to look at him. I often wondered how life would be for him. Like God will this precious little guy ever be able to express love to any of us. Will he ever be able to allow us to show him love. Hugging was a no no for him. But I always would want to just pick him up and hug and kiss on him. I knew that would send him into a frenzy but he was just so cute! But I think one of the hardest things in the world was him being non-verbal. Having a child not be able to tell you when they’re not feeling well or that they’re hungry is hard. Just thinking of the everyday things that he may need but can’t express to you that he wants. Now as hard as it was for us can you imagine what it’s like for him or others like him? I can’t even begin to internalize what it would be like for me not to be able to express how I’m feeling.
Now let me jump over to the here and now. I am so excited about the progress that Jahmez has made over the years. The little boy who was once non-verbal is now putting words together. To hear him speak to me is a blessing. When ever I hear his voice I just smile. Watching him walk to the cabinet or refrigerator and telling us what he wants is amazing. But one of the best things is telling him that I love him and Jahmez grabbing my face, pulling it to him so that I can kiss his check. That is his I Love You to me. This was something that I once could not do. He is so full of affection until you just want to love on him all of the time.
My family is so thankful to all of the teacher’s that work with him. Teacher’s have the job of pouring into our children daily which I’m sure is hard. But as I think of teacher’s who have the pleasure of working with special needs children I realize they have to have a special heart. This experience has given me the chance to look at teacher’s in a different light and with much more appreciation than I ever had before.
I wrote this to say that if we as a family would have just gone with Jahmez is on the autism spectrum and just went with that would he be where he is now? I watched my mother fight for this little boy because she had so much hope for him. I have seen him grow in ways we never thought possible. Many times we have a diagnosis but does that mean that diagnosis is the end game? It is possible for life to be different from what you saw in the beginning. Don’t just take the diagnosis and give up. Fight to see your children progress in ways you never imagined. Even the small changes that I see in him make me excited because I know that God is an AWESOME GOD!!
As a young girl I hated my life to the point I wanted a new family. The misery I felt I knew this was not what everybody else felt within their family. All my friends had moms who were involved in their life 24/7 in a positive way. My mom was phenomenal as far as I wanted to believe, but she was an alcoholic who at times made everyone feel the raft when sobriety kicked in. The way my mom yelled and cursed at my siblings and I 16 years of my life played a huge role in how I almost 10 years later parent my daughter. She’s the apple of my eye, and even though my mom has been deceased for nearly a decade her ways are not what I want to utilize when it comes to disciplining my child. When my mom was angry she made sure we knew and felt every ounce of anger she had. This in return made me angry as a child. Which prompted no result other than me being angry while she was angry and led to me becoming rebellious and abused both mentally, physically, and emotionally. Now, as an adult, I promised myself, my spouse, and more importantly my daughter to never become my mom, as a mom. So far so good, but there are days I catch myself being my mom and I have to remind myself that yelling at my daughter when she does things I don’t like will force her to believe it’s OK to be angry when someone does something she don’t like.. like my mother.. My mom lacked patience, and at almost 26, so do I. Working with being patient with my daughter when she act out has showed me she responds better when I inform her on ways to deal with things. This process is long and hard but I know the generational curse will soon be diminished. Hurt people, hurt people and I refuse to allow pain to dictate how much joy and happiness I can obtain in my life.. Because I am a better person from my childhood situation I have hopes that I’ll become a better mom. My life shaped my vision on what I want my daughter to endure because I wasn’t given the opportunity of positivity in my life, so I vowed to be the positivity I yearned for as a kid… but for my child..
Thank You Amina Kali Okafor for sharing this with us.
I know this status is going to make some angry but I always speak the truth. As women can we get through Father’s Day without all of the sorry baby daddy statuses?? See these are the men we chose to have babies with and now that they are not living up to the Father role we want to bash them in public. When what we should be doing is praying that something in their heart will change so that they will see that the children are the ones that suffer in this whole mess. And ask God to cover our children and protect their hearts so that they don’t allow the root of rejection to take over them. Pray that as they grow older they will be able to forgive that absent parent for not being there. And they will grow to accomplish great things with love and forgiveness in their hearts. In the end it is all about the child and even if we don’t talk bad about them in front of our children they can still sense the hostility. Rejection will cause so many other bad emotions to form like anger, bitterness, hate and unforgiveness. So instead let us hold our children tight and show them what love and forgiveness looks like. Make a vow from this day forward to never say another bad word about that parent no matter how angry you are. Continue to love that child and be the best mother that you can be.