Today a Wonder Soul asked if I really do love autism or if it’s just a show I put on to spray sunshine about. How can you love it, they asked, when it’s so hard? I know, I know…it sounds hoaky, right?
It’s a good question. I appreciate the honesty. How could you love something that is so tough, so hard, so filled with uncertainty, hurt, battles and sometimes loss? I know, I get it, I’ve sat on that side of the emotion too once upon a time. The side filled with one giant and blackened pity pot. No, it sure isn’t all sunshine and roses by any means. It’s thorny and rocky, mushy and murky in some moments and overflowing with tears in others.
So, really how can you love something so tough?
It’s not that I revel in the rough moments. I don’t. Struggle is never a happy place but the moment that warms it all up for me I realize, as I look back over our decade with autism, is when it occurs to me that the rough moments are when we were growing. They are also moments that are filled with a whole lot of goodness too.
Who my boy is… is exactly who he is meant to be. He is enough and when I take a step back and see autism from a distance, I realize the struggles and the challenges that we have endured are what have grown me into a better person and a better mother. Into the person who sees grace and goodness within the rough spots. The kind of person who can see greatness in autism It took me a few years but, now… I finally get it. Life isn’t about racing and struggling to sit atop the perfection podium. Life is about seeing wholeness right in the place where you are. We are not perfect but we are complete. Looking back I can see the blessings, the good fortune and the overwhelming depth that loving and even, dare I say it, embracing autism have imparted into our life. It doesn’t mean I give up it simply means I allow for grace where it matters.
What I get now, and the reason I love autism, is I see the bigger picture and how that dreaded six letter word that begins with the letter ‘A’ and ends with an ‘M’, has blessed us with a bigger view of life and a deeper appreciation for different. It’s only now that I see how that matters more than I ever could have understood before he became my child. I see how autism has moved me, changed me, and grown me into that person I always wanted to be but didn’t have the resolve to become.
Without autism, I don’t want to know who I’d be today because I am certain I would be a lesser form of human. It’s frightening for me, when I think of the might-have-beens, to think of what I’d be like without the education autism and my boy have brought to me. I don’t want to know that person because who I was before he was born is not even half the person I have the good fortune to be today. Today I am better, I’m more, I’m richer in my understanding and I see life more clearly because autism and my boy helped me sit right inside that more astonishing view of life. My boy and autism have taught me more than a text book and typical ever could have. Because of autism and my boy, I have reached deeper, fought harder and opened my eyes wider to life’s wonder than I ever could have without the two of them. I have the honor of seeing life through his eyes and that makes me pretty lucky because his view is simply and utterly profound. Yeah, it’s hard…no doubt… but nothing great ever came easy.
I love autism because it has opened my eyes and blessed me with a more robust and understanding view of life. The compassion and understanding he has brought to me has helped me to see that different is indeed NOT less and …it is in fact a whole lot MORE and, to be quite honest, I would not change a thing. I think this entire world would be better if every person could truly open their eyes to the sparkle that lives within autism or if we could spread not only the awareness but the love and understanding that autism ushers in when it whirls itself into your life.
I am blessed and thankful and yes, I do, I love autism…every single day, every single corner, every single moment because the mystery that it unravels and the lessons it can teach are immense. Sparkle On, my friends!