3 New Year’s Resolutions

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Have you ever read an entry from your diary, or something you scribbled on paper years ago, and wondered about your mindset at the time? Six years ago, I wrote the following, and while my determination to love the entire being of my daughter has burrowed even deeper roots, much has changed. Besides the obvious that my daughter is now 13 and I am too, well-aged, albeit youthfully (lol), admittedly my outlook has evolved into being a bit darker. I realize this growing moroseness has even reflected in my writing. Please forgive me. Each day, I pledge to rise above the “woe is me” mindset and instead, utilize every second of the day to express my gratitude for still being here with my daughter, and bountifully blessed to live in Rockaway. Folks, each morning we are blessed with a crisp, blank canvas. Let’s just try to fill it with more hope and love.

“I hungrily await the dawn of 2017, a year of new beginnings professionally, mentally and spiritually. Also, our “artistic” daughter is going to be nine year this year! As I warm up to sprint full speed ahead, I realize that a change of mindset is intrinsically needed to fulfill all my goals. Not just with new vocational opportunities and health aspirations, but also as a mother struggling to keep sane in the capricious world of autism.”

Here are three resolutions that I vow to keep in the next 365 days:

1- I will not be afraid of or hide your autism. One day this past Summer, we went to the beach. As you pranced up and down the shoreline, with me chasing you like track Olympian Usain Bolt, I overheard a friend explaining that you are autistic. I looked back in anger. Why did he have to say that? In bewilderment he said, “What’s the big deal?” As I reflect on this, yes, what is the big deal? Why was I hiding your autism from other people? Admittedly, I was afraid of other people judging, ostracizing and belittling you. This is why writing this column in the beginning was so challenging and frightening. I was afraid of what people would think and say. Now my attitude has evolved to feeling proud. Yes, my daughter is autistic, which equates you to being special, smart and beautiful.

2- I will not allow other people’s attitude or comments ruin our fun times together. Truth be told, I am usually reluctant to take you to a social event. You love to run, jump, and gleefully flap your hands like a bird. There are some who are enchanted by your ballerina-like movements, and others…well, who are not. For example, when I took you to your first birthday party, you pranced to your heart’s content, then unfortunately power-washed our hosts’ floor with your pee. We made a speedy exit. I texted my friend to thank her for inviting us and to apologize for the power wash. She simply responded, “Your daughter was like a beautiful fairy.” On another occasion, we attended another friend’s birthday party. Like any child, you were quiet at first, but then got antsy and started bouncing around. I turned all colors, when my friend growled, “Control your child!” We left. When we got home, I told granny the sequence of events. All she said was, “Consider the source.” Good advice. So yes, there are some folks, who are sensitive and open enough to embrace your entire being, while others are just too obtuse to even try.

3- I am going to cease asking the question why you are autistic, and instead embrace the notion, “Why not?” After countless wasted years looking into what caused your autism, I’m going to give you the freedom to just be. Forgive me for placing you on diets, investing in a million ‘miracle’ nutritional supplements, sensory and educational props, taking you to every kind of doctor suggested. I promise, no more. I want to see you jump, flap, prance, giggle and fly like the beguiling fairy you are!

Happy New Year Rockaway Times readers!

I talk about autism to open doors into the reality of our lives as caregivers, build understanding, tolerance and growth of our autistic children. Please share your thoughts by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 By Kami-Leigh Agard

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