(Taken by Nick)
I think it is fair to say that the role of caring for an autistic teen is quite demanding! :)
Through no fault of his own, my son requires 24 hour care. At times this responsibility can feel overwhelming. Yes, on occasion I do have a mini pity party!
I have gone through the age old process of coming to terms with the fact that my life hasn't gone according to plan. I know and accept that my long term role is going to be that of a carer.
However, what I have learned over time is that I need to stop and think about myself. I have been so busy filling my son's bucket - Rummage around in there and you will find lots of wonderful goodies to ooh and aah over. Frankly, my boy is a happy teen and very much loved. If I was to visualize his bucket, it would be a bright red receptacle, featuring a large orange sun and bright yellow happy faces. Beautiful blues and greens would be bubbling over the top and gently running down the sides. I would say that his bucket is looking very healthy!!
My bucket is more on the grey side, a bit drab and dreary! Peer over the top and you will find a few things bobbing around in there. Proud mum moments. An airplane or two. Numerous cappuccinos. Joyful memories with family and friends. Regardless of the pretty colours that come to the surface, you will notice the bucket is only half full.
The last 15 years have revolved around autism and it's time to take stock. I need to reassess and make plans to focus on my own bucket. It goes without saying that I will always endeavor to keep the contents of Nick's bucket gently bubbling at the top. I just need to tip the balance towards me and work towards making mine as beautiful as his.