Caffeinated Randomness – Everyday Is….
This month is Autism Awareness month. Tuesday, April 2 is recognized as International Autism Awareness Day. Everyday is Autism Awareness Day at our house.
Thomas was born 7 years ago. He was a fussy baby from the get go. He didn’t laugh until he was at least 6 months of age. He didn’t walk until he was 20 months and didn’t say his first word until he was two. He had only 50 words by the time he was 4 years old. I remember going to the Doctor at his 18 month old check up about some of my concerns, but the doctor just said he was healthy. That he would catch up. I remember conversations with friends about my concerns, especially after reading What to Execpt in the Toddler Years? I felt there was something, but couldn’t put my finger on it.
However, for all the things he was behind, he was ahead in so much. He figured out the mouse and computer by the time he was 2 1/2. I had to lock the computer for a few hours a day so that he would do something else. He was so good at puzzles. He could tell you the letters of the alphabet before he was 3 (Thank you Nana). Thomas was diagnosed with autism two weeks before his 5th birthday.
Sam was the opposite baby. He was happy and had a deep laugh from the get go. He slept through the night after a month. He napped regularly. He too was a slow walker and talker. However, once he walked…..he ran. He was into everything and had more energy than the energizer bunny (even as I write this in a hotel room, he’s running around). I have to admit that I didn’t want to see the similarities with Sam and Thomas. They were too different in my eyes. I argued with my husband about this. On the way to the pediatrician, I argued with God. Didn’t I deserve a “normal” son? Didn’t I have enough struggles and trials in my life? Why us? Why did we have to be the statistics?
I actually took Thomas’ diagnosis better than I did Sam’s. I wanted to have the typical family, not the different one. The year Thomas was diagnosised my word of the year was persevere. I persevered. I pushed through. I embraced Thomas’s diagnosis. I learned more about it. I learned the myths and the truths. I learned about division in the autism community and I picked sides.
Our family moved from one province to another, so that we could obtain better services for Thomas and better services to assist our family. We learned to advocate for Thomas. We learned about inclusion education (something I had struggled with before) and learned of the positive aspects of it for all children. We learned about the prejudice and how to break down the barriers that people with disabilities face. We persevered as a family through the new “normal” we faced.
Last year, my word was “contentment”. I will admit that I didn’t learn to become content with either of the boys diagnosis, but I did learn to be content with what I had. I learned to not look so much into the future and the dreams I had had for my boys (those dreams were gone and I did grieve them). I learned to embrace the day. Every day is new. Every day is precious. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow is never here.
Through all of this God has been with me and my family. He has provided us with amazing therapists. Some believers and some not. He has provided our family with aides who love our children and share our core beliefs. Who believe in inclusion. Who see the possibility each of our boys is. Who see beyond the struggles.
When I have been literally on the floor weeping about my life, God was with me. When I despaired about my children’s future, God was there. He has given me strength when I had none. He brought me joy and peace, when I felt like they were a dream, never to be grasped. He alone has stood with us.
I know because of Him that my boys are amazing, wonderful, perfect, wanted and loved. They are not mistakes. They are part of a larger plan. I may despair of my not knowing the plan, but He alone has seen the end and it is Good!
What are you and your family struggling with? What has God been saying to you? Are you leaning on God through your struggles? Come share the randomness with the other Java Junkies this week.