Looking back, I think that Year 3 was probably the worst of all. We had started RDI with a consultant, which was a good thing and a bad thing. Ultimately it was great for the kids, but it was very bad for me. And when we first started RDI, it was hard for the kids because it changed everything about their world and they had to try to let go of the control and allow themselves to be guided. And it required me to let go as well, which has ultimately turned out to be harder for me than for them.
The end of Year 3 culminated with Austin's seizures which rocked my world even harder than the autism did. To this day, I don't think I've experienced anything scarier in my entire life than watching my son have a seizure.
As Year 4 began, I took up running, and I made a conscious decision to start trusting God more. Who would have thought that the running would be the EASY part? LOL
When the seizures started, my life was consumed by that, and we decided to let our RDI consultant go. It was a difficult decision, but it was one that I don't regret. Our styles never meshed and I feel like we wasted a lot of money. If I had it to do over again, I would have voiced my concerns on the very first day that we went for orientation. Hindsight is 20/20, but the damage from that experience is still evident - thankfully, NOT in the kids themselves.
Year 4 also marked some changes in Austin and Reece. Austin seemed to be over the worst of the onset of puberty, and we gained seizure control with the first medication and only one adjustment (and one additional seizure). However, instead of seeing outward signs of stress... we were seeing more internal ones. Instead of crying or tantrumming, we got anger. Definitely more age-appropriate, but still very disconcerting.
That year was a huge one for Reece as well, as it represented, in my opinion... her 'awakening'. She was finally part of the world and while that was great, it was also really hard for her and for us. She became aware of her differences, and that made her upset. But until she reached that point, it seemed like we couldn't move forward. So while it was hard to see her struggle, it was good to know that we could work with things now.
It's so funny how each of these years, independently, seemed like the "Longest Year Ever" but as I look back on them, it seems like an eternity ago. And that it was just a blip on the screen. Amazing.