Aaron Conway is a registered interior designer who specializes in restaurant design. She and her husband, Ross, an architect and design director, work together in Gensler’s Dallas office. Their twin boys, Jett and Canon, just turned 5 years old. Canon is working at overcoming several disorders, including autism spectrum disorder and childhood apraxia of speech.
5:30AM After being woken up by a dog, a child, two cats and the alarm three times, I drag myself out of bed and to the gym. My motivation to work out? TV. The only chance I get to watch something other than children’s programming is while I run.
6:30AM Leaving the car running in the driveway, I give my husband a quick kiss on the doorstep before he jumps in and drives to the gym. Ross has already made Jett’s and Canon’s lunches and packed their backpacks.
7AM I’ve had a quick shower and run a flat iron through my hair; it’s time to wake the boys. I climb the stairs singing my goofy good-morning song. Jett and Canon rub their little eyes and climb into my lap for morning snuggles. As usual, they both want me to carry them downstairs—at the same time. I’ve always done this, but now that they weigh 80 pounds combined, it’s getting harder. Ross has their protein shakes waiting for them, which they quickly gulp down.
7:45AM We’ve coaxed and prodded for about 30 minutes, and the boys are finally dressed and ready to go. I kiss everyone goodbye and head out the door. Ross drives the boys to their school, and I attempt to make it to work by 8am.
8:05AM After grabbing my beloved morning drink (Dr Pepper), I sit down at my desk. My husband and I work at the same architecture firm, where we met 13 years ago. We don’t sit next to each other anymore, but I can still hear him laugh, which is the highlight of my workday. Today I am working on the concept and floor plan for a new restaurant, my favorite part of the job.
11:15AM Time to go. I need to pick up Canon at school and drive him to his therapy center during my “lunch.” Canon attends pre-K at a wonderful private school with his brother three days a week. Blessedly, he has amazingly understanding teachers and a smart registered behavior therapist in class to help when needed. This is Canon’s first year attending school with neurotypical children, and he has worked very hard for the last three years to get to this point.
11:30AM It brings me joy to see Canon’s smile as he climbs in the car. As we drive, I work at getting him to tell me about his day. Canon has childhood apraxia of speech, which makes learning to speak very difficult. Some children with the disorder never learn to talk, but it can be treated with intensive speech therapy.
12PM I arrive back at the office after dropping Canon at his therapy center, where he will receive ABA, occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech-language therapy services. This is such a relief to me as I previously drove him to four different places a day for therapy. On the walk back to my desk, I see my husband in a meeting and give him a quick grin.
3PM My calendar tells me that it’s time to leave again. Graciously, my office allows me to work part time so I can pick up our boys and drive Canon to all his appointments.
3:35PM When I pull up at school, I see Jett coming out the doors with a big smile. Jett is such a happy child. He is excited to see me every time I pick him up and always yells, “Mommy!” I hope he never stops doing this. While we drive to pick up Canon, I attempt to have a conversation with Jett about his day. He always tells me he did “nothing” and played with “no one” until I find the right questions to ask him. When we get to Canon’s therapy center, Jett and I run to the bathroom to quickly get Jett into his soccer uniform.
4PM Canon bounces out with his therapist, and we talk about how he did today before loading everyone back in the car. Two years ago, we were blessed to find Canon a fabulous speech therapist who finally got him talking with a unique type of speech therapy called PROMPT. We still drive to see her twice a week.
5PM After a great therapy session, we receive our speech homework and race to Jett’s soccer game. Jett just started playing soccer this year and somehow ended up on two teams.
5:30PM Ross joins us on the soccer field just in time to watch Jett play. We have been quite surprised at how well he’s doing, even with his attention issues.
7:30PM We enjoy a quick celebratory dinner on a restaurant patio before pushing our children into the shower. They play in our stand-up shower while we unpack backpacks, pick up toys and find clothes for tomorrow.
8:45PM After the sharing of three books, lots of kisses and a few tears, the lights go out. I sit in the rocking chair and read Shel Silverstein poems until my boys fall asleep.
9PM Ross does the dishes while I do the laundry and feed the pets. We catch up on chores, conversation and emails before heading to bed.