There’s a small window of time, in the morning, where it’s just Jovie and I. We’re eating breakfast together at the table, I’m feeding her the usual porridge with banana while I eat my toast. Jasper is in his own world, eating his sandwich on the floor while watching videos on the iPad – whatever gets that food into his belly, I’ve learnt.
Depending on the day, I’ll have around 6 different bags to carry out to the car in a few minutes. Traffic to battle. A city to cross. An inbox burning with spam and requests. My worries have found a new home in my body, and I shake the urge to call in sick for the day. But there’s none of that for us today, for a long while yet.
Occasionally Jovie and I will lock eyes, and trade smiles. She can’t talk yet, but I know she speaks to me alot through those eyes. I think I can read her pretty well these days, and today she’s saying that it’s going to be okay. And that’s all I need to get going.
Last weekend, I picked up a copy of Chloe Maxwell’s book Living With Max and I didn’t put it down until I was done the next day.
Since our diagnosis in September, and even during the waiting around in the months’ beforehand, I’d been scouring the internet trying to make sense of what Autism means to us now and what to expect. I don’t think I could name 1 Australian ‘celebrity’ with an Autism story to share. Finding memoirs like Living With Max (and even Bloom by Kelle Hampton) and having them so accessible is such an amazing thing for families like us. Opening up the discussion about raising a child with special needs is important – as important as anything I can think of right now. When I was pregnant with both kids, I don’t ever remember anyone discussing what it’s like to raise a child with Autism – and the strength required to deal with what comes with it.
In Living With Max, Chloe talks about her life with honesty that I admire. How life will throw everything at you whether you’re ready or not. And a frank account about dealing with it. Maybe you won’t deal with it well – maybe life will kick you while you’re down – but keep going. For your children and for yourself.
I know that the process in getting to where Chloe (and Max) is today isn’t as quick as a reading a book, but it gives me a sense of hope that there will be a chapter in our life where I’m going to be strong enough to know I’ve come through the worst of it and I’m ready for the next wave.