When your child is diagnosed with autism, you may be overwhelmed with your new foreseen path. With all the differences your little one has from their typical peers. All the things they can’t do.
You may be flooded with all the hours of therapy your kid needs. And you may be floored by hearing the list of things your child may never do...
No wonder us special needs parents grieve. We grieve for the life we thought we’d have. The typical childhood that is lost.
But there is a layer to this journey that nobody tells you about. Yet, it feels the most important of all. Maybe this lesson just has to be learned on your own. Perhaps because, it is the one that will change you the most.
And that is; autism doesn’t define your child.
And I know that may sound cliche and it’s hard to believe when you live with constant sounds, spins, and nonverbal...but at least for me, I see so much more.
I see a bright, sweet, happy little boy who lives life to the fullest. He finds the purest joy in the mundane. The moments where our eyes meet and lock—I feel as though my heart may actually explode with the astronomical amount of love I have for this kid. He is mine. And I am his.
Noah isn’t my autistic son. He’s just my son. He is all we’ve ever known. He makes us laugh and we tease him, and he makes us cry and pull our hair out—just like any four year old.
They don’t tell you there will come a time when you are no longer consumed by autism. You won’t look at your little one and only see their delays and quirks.
You will deeply understand the meaning of “mama bear” like no other. Because your child is so much more vulnerable, and innocent. And you will do any and everything within your power to keep them from harm.
They don’t tell you that you will love someone so fiercely, that you would literally do anything for them. And we do. Every day.
Everyday we bravely wake up and take on the same struggles we had the day before. Not only because of that fire burning love, but because we know that today could be the day.
Today could be the day he sits longer than five seconds and he looks you in the eyes and smiles. Today could be the day he tries a strawberry for the first time. Today could be the day he waves “bye” to Mickey Mouse at the end of the show because he’s following along, and now you know. Today could be the day he brings you a book and lets you read each and every single page to him without getting upset or running away.
They don’t tell you that these seemingly meaningless moments, are the moments that will burst your heart open with happiness— because they are everything to you. They are the moments you’ve prayed for, what you’ve poured all your time & energy into hoping one day it’s your reality.
They don’t tell you your child is so capable. And they will achieve goals in their own time. May take longer than most, that’s for sure—but that is the fight we never stop fighting. And the hope we never loose.
They won’t tell you that you will find joy and a unique beauty amongst the chaos. And that you will feel you’re the lucky one to understand empathy, and the true meaning of life.
And I know sometimes this job feels too big. The questioning--am I doing enough? How will I do this forever? How long is forever? It feels like too much for one to handle. It feels too important. Or maybe you’re not cut out for the job.
They won’t tell you this...but you are. You are absolutely the exact person for the job. As I’ve heard before, this journey is not for the weak—and that’s the honest truth. But your tenaciousness and perseverance will you get you through. And most of all, your love. After all their just your kid. The kid that is the center of your universe. Just like any and every ol’ parent, where their love conquers all.