The month of April is best known for the explosion of Easter Bunnies, obscene amounts of chocolate as gifts for children and a magnificent feast to celebrate the resurrection of Christ. To many people April is Easter, They plan, they organise, many months in advance sometimes, Children have the time of their lives, gorging on chocolate, receiving gifts from extended family members, but to me, April is Autism Awareness month.
So to celebrate this, I am going to dedicate my blog for a whole month to families who wish to share their Autism Journey with you. Some of these people have autism themselves, some are autistic parents to autistic children. We have teachers with autistic students and even Bloggers who want share their journey with me, which I am very grateful for.
When you break a bone doctors cover it in plaster to enable it to mend. When you cut yourself a plaster helps you heal. When you are in pain we swallow medicine to ease our hurt.
My daughter is 8 but already she has known fear, anxiety, stress and hurt. Someone once told me it is like the world is just too much for her. In some ways they are right. Lights are too bright, noise hurts her, people scare her, demands stress her and even eating makes her incredibly anxious.
She needs time alone.
She needs physical closeness to mum. She needs consistent routine and reassurance. She needs something in her hand to help her transition from one thing to another. She needs encouragement constantly as her self esteem and mental health plummet like a rock falling from a cliff.
She is fragile. She breaks easily.
Yet once thing has kept her from breaking for 8 years now. It is something that can never be replaced. It has kept her going in tough times and comforted her through tears. It is a steadfast in a word that keeps on changing. It is always there, faithful, beautiful and reassuring.
It is as dear to her as the air she breathes.
A little cloth. A bit of cotton that has been sewn together many times, taken to so many places and lived life with my child every single day.
To everyone else it is just a rag. To my daughter this cloth is wonderful.
She will not eat unless 'clothie' is right beside her. She will not sleep without it. It is hugged and kissed as she leaves for school and held to her face the second she is home.
'Clothie' is as precious and as fragile as Naomi herself.
Both of them could so easily break.
The cloth has been battered, torn, sicked on and left behind a few times, exactly the same way as my daughter has. Others treat her cloth with distain much as she herself has felt too. As a tender, small, anxious child with autism she knows what it feels like to look and feel different just like her unique cloth.
I never thought I would learn to love a torn piece of muslin cloth so much as I do. It is what keeps my child going and what keeps her smiling.
Her cloth is priceless for one reason:
It is the cloth that keeps my child from breaking.
Maybe I need a 'clothie' too?