He’s Making Progress

I am beginning to despise the word “progress”. I can imagine how that comes across, because certainly progress is the goal of school and therapy and everything we do with Austin. I am thrilled when he meets goals and does new things, and of course, I want him to continue moving forward and believe that he will. Maybe not as quickly as I would prefer, but he will.

My issue with the word “progress” is that single word seems to be the answer for everything. If someone asks me about Austin and catches me at an unguarded moment, more often than not, I will be somewhat emotional. But as soon as I try to express some of the difficulties, the response usually quickly follows, “But he’s making progress, right?” It must be the thing to say because almost everyone does.

So I paste on my smile and nod. “oh yes, he’s making progress”.

Progress, progress, progress.

Never mind that he head butted me in the face yesterday and it hurt so badly my eyes watered. Or that he screamed for 4 hours in the middle of the night. Or that he throws EVERYTHING, food included, until I feel like I’m losing my mind.

The constant exhaustion and difficulty in doing the smallest thing…well, that doesn’t matter.

Because he is making PROGRESS.

When my friend miscarried her baby, I hurt so badly for her and wanted to say the perfect thing to make it better. The thing is, there was not one thing I could say to take that hurt away. I needed to just listen. And maybe here and there say “I am sorry. I am so sorry”.

I’ve said before, we might not have lost Austin physically. But we have lost other things, and we grieve. Every. Single. Day. Everyday I feel some measure of sadness, and anger, and other things that come with the grief cycle.

I’m not one of the autism moms who claims that she wouldn’t change her child’s autism. There’s nothing wrong with that way of thinking, it’s just not how I feel.

To me, autism is the unwelcome intruder who makes my baby scream and hurt himself. Autism locks him away and keeps words from coming to his lips.

In an ideal world, where we had time to just listen to each other, I would explain my hurt. Maybe even cry for our losses. But after that, I would feel stronger and ready to continue on with the day. I would feel hope and optimism return.

I would be ready to say yes it’s hard, yes I’m sad. But you know what?
He’s making progress.


4 thoughts on “He’s Making Progress

  1. Heather,

    I cannot imagine the challenges that you, Austin, and your family go through every day in this wild journey with his autism. When you first told me about it, a big part of me wished that I hadn’t moved so I would still be there to help you with the kiddos.

    But, if I could pick a person I know to raise a child with autism, it would be you. You always had a smile on your face. Every interaction I had with you, or saw between you and your family was filled with compassion and patience. I love seeing your pictures with your family, seeing how much the kids are growing up.

    You’ve got this! On the sleepless nights, on his off days and on his best days; Austin is blessed to have you as a mom.


    1. Maggie…thank you! You are so sweet! We miss you…I can’t begin to tell you how much! Lol. Having someone who was always ready and willing to come and who was so good with Austin is something I really miss! But we’re so happy for you and know you’re doing great where you are ❤️


  2. Austin has a very special place in each one of our families hearts even the young cousins :). I love that you are expressing your emotions to others it is good for you and it will help other mothers out there going through the same thing. I hurt for you, Mikey and the girls so often but I hold on to the fact that we know God is in control and why God chose you and Mikey to carry this hard road I don’t know but I do know He is with you every step of the way. We continue to pray for Austin and all of you. We love you all so much and you know we are here for you anytime you need us. I Love you, Mom Wells

    Liked by 1 person

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