My son has autism and ADHD. He is doing well—better than ever, probably. But he still has autism and ADHD. I also have older adult children and an adorable grandson.
Sometimes, they resent how much time and attention my youngest child needs. The older kids thought this was just his bad behavior. They asked, “Why are you so lenient with him when you weren’t with us?” And “You’re not available to your own grandson like our grandparents were with us!”
It’s true. I’m not available like my parents. They had no children at home when they became grandparents. And this isn’t how I thought it would be when I dreamt of being Nana. But I love my grandson to the moon and back! And I love being with him. I’ll do anything I can humanly do to be available. But it’s going to have my son involved too. It’s just our reality.
My son and I spend lots of time together. I’m his main caregiver. And except for his school hours, it’s me doing the day-to-day care. My parenting of him is very different than the way I parented my older daughters. He has different and more intensive needs than they did. I have to be responsive and consistent with him in a way that they didn’t require.
His bedtime is the same every night. His routine and diet have to be predictable. And, yes, I let him eat things I probably did not let the older ones eat. While his diet has expanded greatly in the last year, he still has aversion to certain textures and flavors. And while it might change as he matures, right now, it is what it is.
I’m positive the older kids never, ever ate as many burgers as this child does! But a tired mama is going to stick to tried and true on a tough day. And picking those battles is something I’ve learned through parenting this sweet boy.
We’ve been through so much as a family. I’m sure there’s more to come. It doesn’t look like any of us thought it would be, probably, but it’s still good - and it’s still family. But it’s hard to be questioned by your own family.