I remember talking with a relative while I was looking for advice. My family had been going through some struggles and I was asking for some life advice. I had been asking about school, jobs, places to live, houses vs apartments and my relative said that Heavenly Father had many answers to my questions. I told him I agreed but I felt like I needed to do more work in order to get direction, but I didn’t know where to start the work.
My relative responded with examples of answers he was sure I could get like, where to live and why my son was born the way he was… I might be asking where to look to live because I wanted to live in a place with resources for my son and autism friendly schools and communities… But I don’t wonder why Mr. L has autism.
I don’t want to discredit those who are looking for similar answers. Having a family member with disabilities whether they be born with, accident or illness caused, or simply from aging is never easy. If it was easy the term disability wouldn’t be used, some thing like super-ability would be coined instead, but as it stands in most parts of society, it’s seen as missing an ability.
Anyways, I’m here writing this today because I don’t wonder why my oldest was born with autism. I knew since he was very little that something was different about him from the way he liked to be alone looking at books when he could barely sit up, to the way he covered his ears before he had learned to roll over, to the way he never looked at the trees or birds I tried to point out to him.
Getting his diagnosis didn’t change him nor did it change how my husband and I looked at him. He was the same sweet boy we had loved before he was even born. Our love for him grew while I was pregnant with him and we both felt like we were just being reunited with him when he was born. There was no shock of how much we loved him when we laid eyes on him. That strong bond and love was already there.
I don’t hope he is miraculously transformed into an autism-less being in heaven. I hope in heaven I will be blessed with eyes to see what he sees. I don’t want him to be less for me to relate to him better, I hope to learn how to step up and be able to see over the fog that autism causes me. My son knows more about life then I do, more about people, feelings, the way technology speaks, the way nature works. Why would I want to ask him to take the time to learn our archaic form of communication when hopefully some day he will teach me his gifted form of sharing?
These ideas may seem lofty or lazy to others, people may even think that I’m just looking for excuses to not push my son to learn. If you knew us, and you knew the daily work we’ve done with him through therapies and the work we do at home every day with Mr. L you would know this is not the case. Yes, if I could change the world for him I would. But as it stands, the world is full of very stubborn, callous, and selfish people. So to have my son succeed in this life, I just have to continue to open the cracks of autism and continue to ask him to reach out to the world I live in, in hopes that he will learn the skills to feel successful and happy in this life.
I don’t ask why Mr. L is the way he is or why he was born the way he is. He is beautiful, he is a blessing and a gift. I know this, not just by what I see through my rose tinted mother’s glasses, I see this and hear this from those that give him a chance. People who get to know him learn quickly how funny, caring, strong willed, and loving he is. He makes people laugh and I’m often told how incredibly smart he is. Others tell me they know Mr. L knows more then he tells and occasionally he lets others get a peek into his thoughts and those who get the glimps are wow’d by what they find.
I do hope to find a way to harness or funnel that creative, engineering, spider-web of thoughts into something the world recognizes and appreciates my kiddo for. But for now, I enjoy sitting next to him while he plans out his train tracks, laughing at his spontaneous humor, and will continue to enjoy when he puts his head on my shoulder for a second before sneaking off with a whole bowl of shredded cheese.
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