Guest Post: A Supernova Surrounded by Ordinary Stars

After reading a touching Facebook post a few weeks ago from an acquaintance I hoped that she would be willing to share some of her parenting journey on my blog. With much gratitude I am happy to publish her thoughtful, sometimes painfully honest, yet beautiful story here. Among the many hats she wears, Staci Mayo is a college instructor, fighter of MS, but most importantly, the mother of a Supernova Daughter.


Staci and her beautiful daughter.

A couple days ago I posted about my beautiful daughter on my Facebook page. Obviously, it’s not the first time I posted about my daughter on my page. I am the typical mother that annoys all of the Facebook world that does not have kids with my daughter’s picture of the first day of school, art projects, gingerbread houses, and sometimes our wacky selfies that we like to take. That day, I felt like I needed to use my words to express all of the rush of emotions I was feeling at the time. Here’s what I wrote:

Next week, I will find out if my little girl is on the autism spectrum. This is something that I believe I already know the answer to.

Since she was a baby I knew she was different. She wouldn't sleep in her crib. For 6 months she would only sleep in her swing or the car. She could be snoozing in her carrier and would immediately know when we walked into a store like Walmart. When she was a toddler, other parents would tell their kids not to play with her because she played too rough.

Every morning before preschool was a fight because her shoes and socks didn't feel right. Some days I would have to just throw her over my shoulder while she was having a fit and put her in the car and hope that she would calm down before we got to the school. We sat in the breezeway of the preschool with her refusing to put her shoes on so many times. There were times that I just had to let her throw her fits while everyone watched and gave me dirty looks. 

Sometimes I would sit and cry with her.

Many people think that it's an issue of bad parenting. I can assure you that I am not a perfect parent, but no amount of perfect parenting will prevent an overloaded child from having a meltdown. Now, my little girl is growing up at those fits are occurring less. The anxiety shows in different ways. She is now recognizing that kids are cruel and hurtful. She feels misunderstood on a regular basis whether it's other kids or adults.

As a parent you want to protect your child from every hurt, but you know that if you protect them you are making it impossible for them to survive in the world. So next week when I find out the answer I already knew, I only get confirmation that my daughter is a supernova surrounded by ordinary stars. She is brilliant, intense, and amazing. If she manages to find the tools to cope amongst the ordinary stars, then no one will be able to outshine her.

This post led to a string of reassurances that my daughter would be ok. I suddenly felt like my daughter often feels, very misunderstood. The posts made me think that people perceived that I was worried about the diagnosis. The idea of the diagnosis just makes sense to me. It clicks. It’s like putting in that last piece of the puzzle. It is comforting, reassuring, and a relief.

That’s not to say I haven’t been worried about her, or even doubted myself. I can’t even describe the number of times that I have felt completely hopeless, like a bad parent, like every single step I’m taking is the wrong step. I know this is probably a normal part of parenting but when your child is screaming and on the verge of a meltdown and you look around an all you see are the laser like stares of the people walking past you, then it intensifies the whole moment. When outsiders tell you to, “Shut your kid up!” or even people that know her well tell you, “You can’t handle your child,” then you doubt yourself.

Even though I knew my daughter was different since she was a baby, professionals told me to “Just wait.” They wanted me to just wait and see if she grew out of it. It was clear in kindergarten that she hadn’t grown out of it. At that point she ended up with the diagnosis of ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and Sensory Processing Disorder. Those diagnoses reminded me that while everyday can be a challenge, that we are doing the best we can. The diagnoses gave us the ability to find and use tools and techniques that make our lives much easier.

In those moments that everything is falling apart, it’s hard to remember that my daughter is different. It can be hard to remember that she’s not being difficult just to be difficult. She’s always just been too intense for her little body and can’t hold it all in. I am very confident that my daughter will be perfectly fine in this world. She will have ups and downs. Her ups and downs just might be a little bit more intense. She will need to surround herself with people that recognize and accepts her quirks. She will need to surround herself with people that see her as a brilliant supernova. 



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