A few months ago I received an email that still warms my heart. It so perfectly describes life as a parent, trying to navigate this scary path and hope you are doing your best. But through the fear you see your child smiling, exploring and loving and the fear disappears, even if just for a few seconds.
An email from a Maxwell’s Mum:
“I’m a incredibly blessed to be the mum of two beautiful boys, Max and Teddy. Teddy is a loud, irrepressible 18 month old tornado who has big brown eyes and a seriously cheeky smile, to say he is a handful would be a serious understatement.
My first love Max is a beautiful 5 year old who has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), he also has all the stuff that sometimes accompanies ASD including global developmental delay, sensory processing disorder, hypotonia, hypermobility and a bowel disorder.
But more than all those things, all of which deserve their own mention because they are all legitimate challenges Max faces daily, my darling boy suffers from a severe anxiety disorder.
I think in today’s society people often hear about ASD and have a preconceived notion of what they think Autism is. I probably don’t need to tell you that the majority of kids out there on the spectrum have an intellectual disability (so this idea that they are all the next rainman frustrates me beyond belief.) Fortunately this is not the case for Max, but I am passionate about people seeing that autism comes in all shapes and sizes. I also want to scream from the proverbial rooftops about children who live with mental illness, I feel there i just as much if not more stigma surrounding childhood mental health than adult mental health.
I’ve gone off on a bit of a tangent. But I’d just love to for people to know how hard it is to parent a child who is filled with pure fear every second of every day. My son is scared of the toilet, the dark, food, bodies of water, loud noises. I could go on forever. His body is constantly is a state of heightened arousal. That fight or flight. Waiting for what’s coming next. It’s taxing on us as individuals and as a family. But that can’t be anything compared to what it must be like to be inside his overwhelmed and complex brain.
My son is smart and gentle. He is determined and one of the strongest people I know. He has long curly ginger hair and is truly unique in every way. He loves electricity and maths. He loves trains and exploring nature. He and his brother are my pride, my world.
I’d love for you to consider photographing my beautiful boy for your project. I can promise your heart will be fuller from having met him. Or maybe I’m just a biased mum who just thinks her kids are super neat, who knows?”