Today, at church, my friend Holly showed up with a huge gift bag. In it were new toys for Roman. Animal face balls that rattle, a soft soccer ball that sings and lights up, and.....wait for it....wait for it....SOFT BOWLING PINS!! I personally am a fan of the pins, as they will not hurt when he pegs me in the head with them. We spent the day lining up the toys, rolling the balls back and forth, playing catch, and getting frustrated when things were not according to Roman's standards. I went to Walmart tonight and got him new storage bins specifically for HIS toys.
Also this morning I got to meet a new friend, and another mother to an autistic son that is Roman's age. We talked briefly in between church gatherings and it was so funny to hear her talk about her son throwing laundry. As she spoke, I couldn't help but smile and say "Roman LOVES throwing freshly folded laundry over his shoulder and onto the floor!" It is a rough lifestyle to adapt to, but seeing her smile and knowing that she has gotten this far and her son is speaking, made me see a glimmer of hope that everyone keeps saying will happen, but sometimes I just don't feel it. (Name left out, because I don't have her permission to say anything.)
Saturday during the day, Susan made snow for Roman and her son Jaden to play in. Roman was sketchy about the texture, but he ended up having a good time. I am so thankful for Susan and her eagerness to really reach out and help me with Roman. She knows when I can't take another minute, or when I need a breather and she is always ready to jump and help in ways that sometimes I cannot even put into words just what is needed.
Another person that has been a HUGE help through all of this is Shenika. I love that she has no fear in telling me how well behaved Roman is at school and different things that they do with him. She tells me his favorite songs, so I can download them for him. She reminds me that sometimes I have to be stern with him, and I can't just treat him like a little prince, because he will just walk all over me. She reminds me that it is okay to be frustrated. My favorite is how she will tell me I need to be tough with him and follow it up with "but I am not in your shoes, so I don't want you to feel like I am coming at you any kind of way". She is cautious with her words, and doesn't want to hurt my feelings or offend me, but she is not afraid to give advice that is helpful to me either. I love that!
I got in touch with a friend from my old neighborhood/college/simply put, she just rocks, Jeanna. She teaches autistic kids and had a LOT of good advice for me. She was sympathetic, and encouraging all at the same time. I love her and give her major props for what her career consists of. She offered ideas of helping Roman communicate via pictures, programs to get him into, and even encouraged my OCD by telling me to step it up a notch for his sake. ;) She offered tips for organization that would help Roman, and I am very thankful that she has the knowledge regarding autism that she does. She definitely helped me out tremendously!!
Saturday night, while Roman was feeling a bit stuffy and snotty, he was in full on Roman mode. He was being stubborn, and very difficult. In a very weird way, as if he thought we were second guessing this autism thing, he put on quite the show for us. He was in the corner playing with some toy cars (by himself of course). He lined every last car up into a perfect line. He then went and got some blocks and stacked them like the Eiffel Tower. He began getting frustrated at the building that his brother and Caleb were building and began fighting for those blocks to add to his line he had made. He arm flapped for us, followed by head butting. He bounced around and walked in circles on his toes. He screamed his Roman scream. He became angry and began hitting. He threw a few things. He dumped his cheetos onto the TV stand and ate them from there, as if eating from the bag is the abnormal way to do it. It was so "checklist style" that even Ramsey said, "I guess he is trying to prove to us he can do all the signs". Another moment where it is cute, you can't help but giggle a little, but deep down it's like your heart is being stabbed and shattered.
While I have moments where I am truly feeling like I couldn't hurt any more for this sweet Babyman, I am beyond thankful for those that are CONSTANTLY offering words of encouragement, support, love, and a shoulder to lean on. Thank you all for being my support system. I hope that one day I am able to repay you in some way or another.
**Many others are a part of this support system and help in many ways, but it is 2am and this mama is tired.**