Not Alone

Most of the time, we like to be right. We like that feeling of validation when something goes the way we thought it would. But there are, of course, times when our intuition kicks in, we get a hunch, and it’s not a good one. We hope like hell that we’re wrong.

I wrote recently that I’d been noticing what appeared to be postictal signs from Nigel, that I thought he might have some seizure activity going on even though I hadn’t witnessed it. Unfortunately I was right. He had a seizure on New Year’s Eve while visiting his father. What timing, right? Way for 2010 to get in one last jab on its way out.  Anyway, Nigel’s okay; apparently it was milder than the first one. But still – I so wish I had been wrong. A new year began just a few minutes after I received the call from my ex-husband, and I paced the hallways of my home, crying and swearing at autism for providing yet another issue to continue worrying about. Sobbing about how it never ends. Wishing, again, that I had been wrong.

But the next day, somehow, I felt better. It was a beautiful, clear New Year’s Day (a clean slate!), and I felt determined not to let the event of the previous night get me down. That evening I picked up my boys from the airport (they flew alone again!) and we drove home. It was so good to have them with me, to hug them (even though one can’t really hug back), and to feel the peace that their presence brings me.

I also felt better because I know that I’m not alone in my experiences. I have been blogging for almost three years now, and it has been my lifeline. I cannot put into words how much I have benefited from all the encouragement and advice I have received from readers and fellow bloggers out there. That’s right, from you. You reading this right now, my friends. You have offered much-needed recommendations when I was searching and deciding about medication. You have celebrated Nigel’s accomplishments with me and lauded his progress. And you have empathized; you have supported me when I worried. There are so many more posts I could link to. Through your beautiful comments and your generous emails you have buoyed me up and helped me along this leg of the journey. My gratitude is boundless.

And so, I’m very sorry to say that I’m at a point where I need to stop blogging. This post is my swan song for TeenAutism.com. Basically, as much as I’ve loved blogging, my energy – what little there is – is needed elsewhere in my life. Aidan will soon be doing something that will change his life, and Nigel’s, and mine. But he is fourteen, and that is his story to tell, should he choose to. He deserves so much more of my energy than I have been able to give him over the years, so I want to focus on him now as much as I can. Nigel, of course, will continue to consume a lot of my energy, and whatever’s leftover I hope to channel into some more fiction writing.

I wish I had more time and energy so that I could continue to blog – to do this thing I have enjoyed immensely. I feel like I’m leaving so much unfinished! For example, I’d wanted to post a book review of Late, Lost, and Unprepared: A Parents’ Guide to Helping Children with Executive Functioning. I’m not even half way through it, but I can already tell that it’s a fantastic resource, and I highly recommend it. Another thing I wanted to do was get back to the “What It’s Like” series that I started a while ago. I wanted to hit up my wonderful extended family members for interviews about what it’s like to have a nephew and grandchild with autism. I wanted to talk more with Aidan about what it’s like to have a brother with autism, and write about it. I wanted to do posts called “What It’s Like to Have a Child with Autism” and even “What It’s Like to Have Autism,” from Nigel’s viewpoint. Then I thought about it, and I realized that it’s all here, contained in the existing posts of this website. The social challenges, the sensory issues, the bullying, the obsessive thoughts, the medication and therapy, and much more.

It’s all here.

But there are so many unanswered questions about Nigel as he closes in on adulthood – will he drive, will he continue to have seizures, will he be able to have a job, live independently? How will he be as an adult? Some of that I might mention on Facebook periodically, if you’d like to find me there. I’ll also keep this site up with a home page that I’ll update from time to time with information about how Nigel’s doing. This website has become the resource that I was looking for over three years ago as Nigel entered his teens and I searched desperately for information. Not finding much, I decided to create TeenAutism.com. I figure there will be many more parents Googling “autism in the teen years,” and I’d be honored if they might consider any of my 436 posts to be a resource for them. I’m also touched by the fact that many parents find this site by searching the phrase “so proud of my son blog.” Because I am – of both of them.

My friends, I want to thank you once again for being there, for being part of our lives, for joining us on the journey. I appreciate you more than I can say. I leave you now with one last Nigelism:

The Scene: Interior of suburban family home. A mother enters the bedroom of her teenage son who has autism. She is coming to say goodnight to him, and he is in his bed, expecting her. As is their nightly ritual, she shuts off the bedroom light and comes over to the side of his bed to kiss his forehead and tell him she loves him. As she leans over and kisses him, he holds out his arm and reaches over to turn on the small light on the headboard of his bed.

Teen son (softly): I can’t see you. Let’s do it again so I can feel like I’m not alone.

Mother (with lump in throat): Oh, honey. You’re not alone. You’ll never be alone.

48 thoughts on “Not Alone

  1. Kate

    I’ll miss your posts, Tanya. I’ve always enjoyed them. But I wish you luck on your future ventures. And Ill be keeping an eye on your FB page :) Kate

  2. Debbie

    What a beautiful final blog! I’ll miss reading them. Give your boys a hug from me and know you’re always in my prayers…keep me posted!

  3. Elizabeth

    Oh, Tanya, I don’t know what to say. I will miss you. I had hoped to meet you, to at least continue some sort of correspondence — This post was so beautiful, though, stunning.

    I wish you much love and peace. And you know how to find me should you need ANYTHING.

  4. tera

    oh darn. i will sincerely miss your views and ideas and stories and support and…

    but i wish you all the best of everything you’ll embark upon along the way.

  5. Kim

    Tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. I’m so going to miss reading your blog-one of my all time favorites. I’ve learned so much from you Tanya, and I’m going to miss your written voice.

    But I do understand, and I wish all of you well!

    Love.

  6. Elise

    AWE, I just found your blog. Felt like I had someone who understood my life..I hope you will update us somehow on the boys and how they are doing.

  7. Jacquie

    Congratulations!
    If your energy is pointed in a different direction, I have no doubt you will be great.
    Wishing you and your family peace, success, and a big blue sky.

  8. Boy Wonder's Mom

    I understand but I’ll miss you and your boys.

    Love you and thanks for all you have done. BoyWonder is 3 years post diagnosis and I found you shortly thereafter. Thanks for all you have done to smooth my path without ever probably knowing it.

    You know where to find me.

    xoxoxoxoxoxo

  9. Laura

    I wish you and your boys all the best. I only just found your blog a few months ago, and I’ll go back and read your older posts. It’s one of the big questions when your child is diagnosed, “what does the future hold”. It really helped me to see Nigel on “You Tube”. To hear his voice. I wish I’ld found your blog 2 years ago when my son was diagnosed. But, that’s ok.
    My hat’s off to you for blogging for 3 years.
    Thank you.

  10. Meg

    Tanya, I haven’t commented or blogged in months, but I want to thank you for being such an inspiration to all of us. I’ll add you on Facebook, and I’ll keep this blog in my reader for any future updates.

    Your boys are AMAZING and you are the kind of mother I most want to be. Thank you for sharing your life with us!

  11. Karen -Aspergers Mom

    BOO HOO! I’m so sad to see you go, but you’re right…you do have a wealth of information right here for all to see. Perhaps you could put it together in a book for publication.

    I just mentioned you on my blog post
    http://confessionsofanaspergersmom.blogspot.com/2011/01/autism-speaks.html

    I was just coming to know you and your boys and I so admire your strength in this journey. I also admire how your love for them shines through, no matter how difficult it may be to deal the tough times.

    I wish you, Nigel and Aidan the best future imaginable.

    Thank you Tanya! I’ll stay in touch on FB

    Karen

  12. Jess@diaryofamom

    I will come back and leave a proper comment when I stop crying.

    This space we hold so dear will never be the same.

    Thank ‘you. Thank ‘you for shining the light so beautifully and compassionately on ‘the path ahead.

    Love.

  13. Barry

    Your blog IS a resource for teen autism – an item for which there is very little out there. You have contributed greatly to the knowledge base (especially from the real expert view – parent). Please keep the blog up since I am sure it will help many.

  14. Jill

    Dang, I will miss your posts…was always checking in on you and the boys! It has been great to see how much they have grown and how much you all have accomplished…will keep up with you on FB.

  15. Tanya Savko Post author

    Everyone – thank you, as always, for your beautiful comments. Your support has always meant the world to me, and I wish you all the best along the journey that we share. Take care, and love.

  16. Michelle

    great. as soon as I start blogging again you leave!! We can’t get it together. The internet will miss your wonderful stories and advice and support. Hopefully you will reappear again as I did. I understand needing a break. It is time consuming. I hope to one day see you on my newsfeed again! Best wishes to your familiy!!!

  17. Niika

    I will miss your blogs as they taught me about how life is always changing and unpredictable – so full of expectations, success, hope and sometimes disappointments. Through your writings, I have realized that you, Aidan and, especially Nigel, have become my teachers and I am your student. I am now looking forward to reading your novels and enjoying them. Much love to you!

  18. Lex Savko

    I sure am going to miss reading your blog posts. They always touched me in some way. But whatever venue you choose to focus your time and energy on, I know there will be lots to learn from. Keep learning and keep writing, not necessarily in that order! Take care.

  19. Christine

    Every time I read this I cry, I am not sure even why. I will miss your blog post but, I found you on facebook so I won’t miss you. The information your blog contains is wide and deep, if I need it, it is probably already here….so why am I crying? It must be because I feel like I know you, and I love you, it must be because change is scary and I have never really expressed how much I appreciate what you have done here….. three years of an autistic journey, the time you have taken to document, share and tell the story of moving through these years is a blessing to many, including me. Thank you for the time you have put into this blog and thank you for the time you took to encourage me along my path. Take good care of yourself, love your boys and continue to be the amazing person you have always been.
    Until the next time,
    and with much love,
    Christine

  20. JoyMama

    Blessings on your journey as it continues! Like everyone else, I’ll miss you here — but am glad to have the Facebook connection, and glad that this (amazing) resource will continue to be available for anyone who needs it.

  21. Christine

    One more thing… thanks for making so so so many of us feel like we are not alone. This life can be scary, but so much less when we know there are people like you out there in the world to keep us company and lead our scary steps down an unknown path.

  22. Paulene

    I’m with everyone else, we will really miss your wonderful blogs.
    I am so happy and grateful our paths crossed and I will keep in contact via FB.

    Wishing you the very best with your future plans.

    Hugs from mine to you and yours xxx

  23. rhemashope

    thank you, thank you sweet friend for all you have given us and taught us in this space. thank you for your beautiful boys and for sharing them with us. we’ll stay connected.

    you are dear to me, you must know.

  24. Michelle O'Neil

    Tanya, this blog has been a beautiful gift. One I’m sure many will continue to find and treasure.

    “You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.”

    Your arrows will go far. Such a strong bow.

    (quote from The Prophet)

  25. Johanna

    Tanya, I’m so sad seeing you go, but at the same time I totally understand. I will miss hearing how life goes for Nigel, as it has been a great inspiration for us. It is reallt nice of you to let the blog stay on the net. I bet there will be many browsing it, me included, as my son grows and eventually hits his teenage years.
    I hope you come and say hello once in a while. Take care! Love to you and your boys.

  26. M

    i shipped along my comment in an e-mail, it wouldn’t quite fit here. i tried, but the comment box began to sag and bulge out, i was worried about breaking your site.

  27. Brenda (mamabegood)

    Now, I’m crying! Oh, Tanya, I’m going to miss you so. I know, you’re still there, but honestly, I’m just going to miss you. ((hugs)) Thank you for sharing all that you have. I hope one day to see you again.

  28. Niksmom

    To quote Joni Mitchell– “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone…” Thankful for the brief bits our paths have crossed and for the wisdom and caring you have shared. I wish you nothing but good for you and your boys. May the next part of your journey take you to amazing places together. You will be missed…but definitely not forgotten.

  29. Jan

    Oh, Tanya, I will miss you, Nigel, and Aiden so very much. So very, very much. I wish you the very best of good fortune as your journey continues and I will never forget what you have taught me about autism and life.

  30. Grandma Madeline

    My dear daughter, Tanya, many times have I said to you how proud I am of your accomplishments and, especially, your commitment and dedication to Nigel and Aidan as their mother, and, as the grounding ‘oak tree’ of their lives. You provide them with love and stability, a comforting home, sensible counsel, and encouragement in their endeavors. And, it has been with great sacrifice on your part. Your insights and discoveries, and the willingness to share them, have benefitted many others through this site you created, too. I can read all the many appreciative comments to you through these 3 years.
    The creative wind blows from another direction in your life now, and it is time you let that stirring breeze lead you onward. The universe is waiting for ‘Tanya’s touch’, and I think many will benefit again from your new endeavors! Wishing you, and my imaginative, growing-up grandsons, Nigel and Aidan, happiness, and a good life, and peacefulness of spirit. I’ll be close-by, always with love,
    Mom/Grandma

  31. Grandpa Savko

    Eight years ago this April I moved 700 miles away from you and the boys, all the while fearing my absence would mean I would miss out on so much in your lives in Phoenix. To a degree this was true until you started your Teen Autism blog. I treasured seeing your writing skills put to such good use for the benefit of others experiencing or soon to experience teen autism. Of course, I value all you taught me and others as you experienced and shared with us the many interactions with Nigel and Aidan the past three years. Most of all I appreciate how you have blessed me with glimpses into your lives that I could not share due to the distance. This blog has scores of family pictures that I can reflect on in my remaining years with great joy. Thank you for this, dear Tanya. I pray that God will bless you and the boys with a bright future, one that includes sunny Southern California! Love, Dad/Grandpa

  32. Macrina Lesniak

    Not only is your writing an excellent resource, but you’ve done an excellent job linking other resources, categorizing relevant issues, and creating a great website from both an informational and personal viewpoint! Are you going to continue doing guest entries on the Hopeful Parents site? That might help ease your readers’ TeenAutism withdrawals we will all be feeling shortly.

    Thank you for opening our eyes!
    Macrina

  33. Erika

    Thank you so much. Your words have meant so much to me, I wish you and the boys happiness and peace.

  34. TeachASD

    Tanya, I am a teacher for students with ASD. I teach middle school kids and I just happened on your blog site this morning as I searched for resources to help a student who is going to his first school dance. As I searched, I was led to your blog about Nigel’s first high school dance. I am sorry that I am just now finding your site after you are ending your blogs. Best wishes for you and your family. I will be back to read your past blogs!

  35. AUNTastasia

    Tanya,
    You have created something wonderful here. I have so loved reading your blog as a way to continue growing with my nephews after moving far away from them. Your insight and experiences are so valuable and I’ve seen from reader comments throughout the years how many other’s lives you’ve touched through this blog. I really hope you can turn some aspect of this blog into a book, I think it would be a bestseller! Best of luck with your exciting future endeavors!

  36. Tanya Savko Post author

    Oh, you are all so wonderful! I can’t tell you how much your kind words mean to me.

    Macrina – unfortunately I will also need to discontinue the monthly posts at Hopeful Parents, as I need to stop blogging completely at this point. Thanks for asking, and I’m sorry for the withdrawals! Sending much love.

  37. Alicia D

    tanya, im so sad you will not be blogging anymore. I have loved reading you over the years and feel like ive grown to love you and your boys. However, of course i understand and support your decisions. we are mothers first. there is not enough time in the day or energy in our minds and bodies to be all things to all people and do everything we want and need to do all at the same time. something always has to give. If you ever decide to come back to blogging, we will be here waiting. If not, you have made your mark. You will continue to make your mark in other ways. You just will. And while I’ll miss you, I know you are doing whats right for you and your family.
    big cyber hugs and much love!!
    Alicia

  38. Carrie N

    Oh no! I can’t tell you how many times your words have been an encouragement to me. Nigel’s accomplishments give me so much hope for Grayson’s future. You are a wonderful mom. I hope you will find another avenue to continue your writing. Perhaps another book? Thank you for being a beacon ahead of so many of us on this road. Much love.

  39. Pingback: Tanya Savko » Blog Archive » Fifteen

  40. Keegan Sluis

    Hello my name is Keegan and Im commenting on behalf of Sluis Academy. We are a company that works with children with autism and is based just outside of Vancouver BC. We are all to aware of the struggles autism can cause but the strength you showed by looking at life with a new perspective was inspiring and i will be sure to follow your blog from now on. Keep up the good work and keep the faith! Everything happens for a reason and Im sure having a child with autism was just to make you an even stronger person!

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