And all that it has taken during it’s tenure at our home…
Seriously though, if you spend your time dwelling in the things lost – wow! you can pickle yourself in grief, anger and about 30+ negative emotions. When we pull ourselves out of “that spot,” stand up straight, and take inventory of our lives – frequently what shows through is that having autism, or other chronic adversities, has actually ADDED to life.
Understanding metabolic processes better
Kindness and Understanding
Gaining an “A-hole” detector that can spot a jackass a mile away
Answers to MY chronic health problems
Awakening to the truth around me
And of course, amazing friends and other folks I would have never, ever met if it were not for this journey into autism. Yep, some of the smartest, funniest people on earth are now in my contacts list. Sure, some of them are these TMR parents I “work” with to produce daily content and what-not, but it really expands beyond my iPhone to:
– the therapist that teaches my son how to play for 10 hours a week
– the babysitter that came into our lives when I was juggling the functional equivalent of two toddlers many moons ago
– the Physical Therapist that quietly works to build muscle in my low-tone child, year after year
– the teacher who told me to stop babying my child (and was right)
– to the mainstream doc who listened and helped
– the amazing moms I get to talk and laugh with at my son’s out-of-district school
– the parents that give up their child’s free time helping my son learn playskills
And don’t forget some of these really invaluable skills I’ve developed:
Learning to not be afraid to say “hello” to someone with a disability and to certainly not ignore them.
Growing “a pair” and standing up for myself (still a work in progress)
Stepping out of my comfort zone with relationships, work skills, parenting and home repairs.
I literally cannot imagine the possibly clueless, stuck-up dork that I might be had autism not entered my life — Oh the fog I would be floating around in as I complained about soccer and how long it took to get a hair appointment and grocery shopping.
So – sometimes – I sit and wonder, I mean REALLY wonder what life would be like without my son’s autism.
T-ball vs social skills group.
Movie outings vs watching elevators.
At the same time, I almost physically feel the sensation of mourning the friends and relationships developed over the past decade. POOF! Gone. There is almost a tear welling up. I almost feel the shame of being clueless and having disposable income; of not knowing the plight of millions of families. The guilt of breathing a sigh of relief and thinking “thank goodness that’s not us”.
I’ve been thinking about this for about two weeks. Would I want to give up the knowledge, wisdom, patience and mostly importantly – people – that autism has brought into my life? Would I trade all I’ve been GIVEN to get back all that’s been LOST?
In a heartbeat.
Why do I feel bad saying that? I kinda feel like I’m saying “See ya suckers” – but obviously I’m not.
I can’t. Even if recovery came knocking at my door today, I couldn’t walk away because I am changed. I am changed and all these people have settled into every nook and cranny of my heart. But just admitting that I’d throw them and my new found less-flawed character traits out the window for my child and my family…it feels really cold and heart-less.
Who knows – if not for autism, I might have become this person through another path. I may have met one or two of these fantastic folks via some other fabulous coincidence.
But see – I know they understand. And most would do the same.
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