Over the last few days in particular (and the last year and a half in a broader sense) I've seen criticism arise about "those bloggers who sugar coat autism."
My posts on autism are probably regarded in that way by some.
Other people suggest that I find myself more on the "acceptance" end of the debate because "your daughter must not be 'that autistic.'"
I've managed to suppress my knee jerk response to that particular comment every single time it's come up (barely... just barely...) with one exception when it was brought up (in a general sense) on my Facebook page by a stranger and, after a particularly difficult day I pretty much lost it and turned into a raving lunatic.
I've long thought about writing a post about the reason that I don't delve into certain areas that might make some readers feel they're getting a more authentic autism mom experience on this blog. It's the same reason I try to avoid embarrassing stories about any of my kids (or my husband, unless he gives me his permission).
It's because I don't want them to grow up and look back at any post on this blog and be embarrassed by it. And while I really have no idea how much of what I've written Maggie will understand, or if she'll ever be able to read it (or, on the other hand, if she can now) I write with the hope she might one day.
In the same vein I wince when I read posts, or webpages by prominent organizations, that speak about having autism or caring for someone with autism as a fate worse than death, because I can imagine her, and other young people like her, Googling and reading those same words and being devastated by the claims.
What I most want my writing to show is what is truly true. I want it to show that we love our beautiful girl exactly as she is. That caring for her and watching her grow and helping her learn is an immeasurable gift.
Some days are hard because Maggie is having a tough day. But some days are tough because Sadie or Patch are having a hard time, or because the baby is cranky or because I woke up in a terrible mood and am failing miserably at turning it around.
On the other hand some days are wonderful.
And more than that I've found that I appreciate the little accomplishments more than I ever could have imagined if I hadn't watched one of my children struggle and work to master skills that come easily to most children.
Then there are the days when I look at Maggie and find myself thinking: "So this is what it's like to live with a super hero!" because her super strength and determination can be both exhausting and awe inspiring (often both in a short span of time).
This April I'm planning on writing a bit more than I usually do about autism. I have a few posts bouncing around in my head in response to some of the most frequent questions I've been asked over the last year and a half.
But tonight as I get ready to turn in for the night I wanted to share some of my favorite pictures of our littlest big girl over the last four and a half years: