Not the Summer I Expected

I am a special ed teacher. I am so fortunate to have my summers off. I look forward to them.

After April vacation the countdown begins.

I get to spend time with my boys doing all the things they love; going to the beach, swimming, playgrounds, hanging with their cousins and my friends’ children.

Only this will not be the case for one of my sons.

My 3 year old Dominic will spend a 32 hours a week at his ABA center. He will go to occupational  therapy.

This hit me hard the first week of vacation. It was an unexpected feeling.

It was a new piece of sadness that comes with autism that I hadn’t felt yet. I missed him.

I felt guilty doing fun things without him because I knew how much he would love to be there with us.

I would get angry when other people ask me what we are doing for the summer and I would tell them my son will be in school all day 4 days a week and they respond with “ Oh lucky you.”

No, not lucky me. I want him to be home with me and his brother.

I want to make summer memories with him. I yearn for him and his brother to play together and bond.

But…..ABA has been a game changer for us. This is where he needs to be. He loves his therapists and his center.

They are an amazing group of people doing life changing work.

He goes happily every day and we see the progress he is making. I am pretty sure it’s just mom struggling with all this!

Dominic seems perfectly happy and content!

For now, summers will look differently for us. It will be about making our time together count that much more.

It will be as much weekend fun as we can have as a family of 4. It will be me hiring a sitter so that we can have quality 1:1 time after he gets out of school once a week without little brother.

It will be nightly water balloon fun with his brother and cousins. It will be us sneaking in trips to all of Dominic’s favorite places. Aquariums, water parks and beaches as a family.

It will be about finding balance between therapy and quality time.

Mostly, it will be me trying to accept this is our new normal and embracing it the very best I can.

Written by, Lindsay Dahlquist

I am Lindsay, mom of two boys. I have a wonderful husband Eric. Dominic just turned 3. and Mason and Mason is 10 months old. Dominic was diagnosed with ASD in May of 2018. He began ABA in September. I have been teaching a classroom of students with moderate to severe disabilities for the past 12 years and love what I do. I feel like it has prepared me for my life with Dominic.

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