Today was the first time Max was able to handle meeting Santa Claus and sit nicely for a photo!
The first time in 8 years. EIGHT years!
Mr Claus was wonderful with Max and fully aware of how to speak to him in a way he would understand, and Max? He was beside himself with excitement!
It's not all sunshine and smiles though...
It took one and a half hours of a meltdown before Max calmed after getting home from our day out.
By day out I mean, we went to KFC for his popcorn chicken (Yay something he'll eat! Sometimes...), the boys got their hair cut, a replacement 2DS was purchased from Game (love their preowned stuff!) and of course, we met Santa. For some that's not much, but for Max, it's a LOT to take in.
This is why we don't do even little trips out too often, as although Max can now manage *really* well while we're out (in general!), as soon as we get back home, all the feelings are released like a tidal wave.
Screaming, shouting, crying, shrieking, lashing out and self-harm are all things he goes through every time he comes home, even from school (though we have worked on this and this rarely happens for more than 5-10 minutes once we're in the door now, thank goodness!).
This is autism, and this is what we live with every day. He may seem to be coping amazingly well when out, and when at school, but the sacrifices made to ensure Max is calm and happy are so much more than you know.
I am so beyond proud of this little guy, of his big brother for being such an amazing support to Max, and to me, and I am also proud of myself for doing, quite frankly, a bloody good job raising these kids alone!
Most of all, I am thankful for the support of family, friends, and support workers, and the early intervention we've been lucky enough to receive since Max was just turned 2.
I'm thankful to see the progress of my little guy throughout the years.
I'm thankful to have Zack, such a thoughtful, fun, kind and supportive child, wise beyond his years (and more than a little crazy too!).
They've been the making of me, as much as I have of them... and this? This is just the beginning.