Back in 2009, my husband was writing and editing for a Christian website that was just getting off the ground. Several years earlier, with my two oldest boys, I discovered I had a deep, burning, desire to try to create memories and traditions with them that they’d be able to hold near and dear and pass on to their own kids. Ok – I admit it was sappy, but I dreamed of some of those “simpler” times when it seemed like those kinds of memories just happened.
In 2003, when my older boys were then 8 and 2, I was fortunate enough to meet some wonderful women and find a pretty cool company that was able to show me that, although we might have to work a bit harder at it these days, it was certainly still possible to create those magical memories for our kids. And I’m not talking about just taking trips to Disney World.
I dove in head-first, and really did love every minute (not that I had any to spare). Life kept changing, as it is bound to do. I got busier, the boys got bigger, and we welcomed baby #3 to our family in 2006.
Then, when Pete started working for the website, I thought it would be totally cool to be able to write a blog for it, focused on what I found important, and letting other families know that if we – the two-working-parent-mom’s-a-lawyer-dad’s-a-writer-kids-are-over-the-top-busy-family – could make those memories, then any family could.
Thus, The Traditional Mom was born. The whole idea was to question what was “traditional.” My proposition was that a “traditional mom” is “a woman who loves her family and desires to raise her kids with values, ambitions, and dreams. And we’re always thinking about what we can do to instill in our children those values, ambitions, and dreams, all the while managing the various other obligations we have.”
That was early 2009. Not too long after ADHD. But before eosinophilic esophagitis. Before allergies. Before developmental delays.
And before autism.
You see, it was later in 2009 that we first had Sam, then 2, going on 3, evaluated by First Steps and were told he had a developmental delay. We had known for quite some time that he wasn’t progressing like we thought he should be, and not like his brothers had. But we listened for a long time to the people (doctors included) telling us he was “just a little behind,” and “don’t worry about it, he’ll catch up.” In fall of 2009, he entered our local school corporation’s Early Childhood program and began getting more speech and OT.
Then in early 2010, I first read about the manifestations of autism. How widespread it had become. How it was connected to autoimmune issues (which our family is loaded with). How it’s tied to ADHD (which one older brother has). How it can be tied to EE and other digestive and allergy issues (which the other older brother has). I learned a lot from more books than I can remember reading right now, including Dr. Kenneth Bock’s Healing the New Childhood Epidemics.
And I learned that these epidemics can be treated. And children can recover. Including from autism.
I started making calls like mad to get on lists to get Sam seen by local doctors to figure out what we could be doing to try to get our son to recovery. And it was maddening. For as medically advanced of a community in which we live, I was astounded that I couldn’t get an appointment with a pediatric neuropsychologist, or the highly regarded children’s hospital docs, who could actually give us a diagnosis for more than six months to over a year. In fact, we’re still on several of those waiting lists with appointments stretching further into this year, and as far out as next fall.
But we just kept searching and calling and bugging and hounding and finally got him in to a doctor (not covered by insurance, of course) and got the diagnosis. Along the way, we kept searching and reading and learning. And now we’re working toward recovering. So, this is my new journey as a Traditional Mom. I’m still a woman who loves her family and wants to raise her kids with values, ambitions, and dreams. The “raising” part has taken on a bit of a new meaning, but we will get get there.
I don’t know how many people might read what I’m setting out to write here. Maybe just my wonderful husband (hi honey!). Maybe a few of the friends that have stuck with us so far. Maybe a few of the ones we’ve lost touch with while trekking down this path to recovery. Maybe just one person who becomes more educated on how to avoid the path we’re on. Or maybe just one who comes to know – like I have – that you’re not alone. Or maybe just me, years from now, looking back on the journey. And that’s cool by me.
But if you are reading … please come back … and please share any comments or thoughts on anything I might post.
I will always keep reading, and learning.
And I will never give up.