Autism Birthday Agony: Attitude Adjusted

September 19, 2017

As my son’s birthday rolls around again this year, I am reminded of the mindset I had just two years ago when Shia turned five. I woke up heavy hearted on his fifth birthday.  I remember being up before everyone, just sitting alone in the quiet with my thoughts. I found myself focusing on all the things I thought Shia lacked and how I thought he would be further along than he was by the time he turned five. At the time Shia had very limited speech. He was now five and I still had yet to hear, “I love you, Mommy.” He had never expressed his thoughts, wants, desires, or needs verbally. I desperately wanted to hear him speak. I wanted to know what was going on in his little mind. I just kept thinking about all the things Shia lacked that morning and I became very sad, to the point of tears.

Then a thought came over me, I would hate it if someone focused on all the things they thought I lacked as a woman in this world.

Shia was diagnosed with severe/moderate autism and also severe receptive and expressive language disorder some time ago. He is an amazing child. Unique and different for sure—but so amazing—and my mind that morning was forgetting about all the things Shia did not lack. I was forgetting about all the things I loved about him.

I continued to sit with my thoughts and my heavy heart for a while.  Through my tears, I prayed and asked God to encourage my heart as Shia’s mother. A few moments later, I felt led to write out all the things I loved about Shia.  After the first five things, I could feel the heaviness starting to lift, so I continued to write. I wrote everything that I could think about that I loved about Shia, just the way he was. Here is what I wrote that morning on his fifth birthday:

  • I love his pace in life.
  • I love that he is never in a hurry. 
  • I love that he stops to take life in fully.  
  • I love how he slows me down even more in life. 
  • I love his love for stillness.
  • I love that he is an explorer at heart.
  • I love his carefree spirit. 
  • I love that he doesn’t care what other people think about him. 
  • I love his quiet nature. 
  • I love his simplicity. 
  • I love his independence. 
  • I love his natural leadership qualities.
  • I love his passion when he is focused on something he enjoys. 
  • I love his laugh. 
  • I love his kisses.
  • I love his hugs.
  • I love his fearlessness. 
  • I love his courage.
  • I love his love for trees. 
  • I love that he loves to be outside. 
  • I love that he loves to be barefoot.
  • I love his love for building forts and obstacle courses. 
  • I love his love for learning. 
  • I love his love for music. 
  • I love that he is not a follower.
  • I love his sensitivity to the Spirit. 
  • I love how God has used him to teach me so much.

After completing my list, I sat with it and read and reread it. As tears streamed down my face, with a deep joy in my heart, I felt truly blessed to have a son just like Shia. My prayer was answered. I felt deeply encouraged as God lead me to shift my focus to all the great qualities and things I loved about my son. Nothing about my son actually changed that day; however, my perspective, my mindset, and my attitude changed, which allowed me to walk in peace and joy.

If you are struggling just as I was, I encourage you to write your own list today for your child.  I am confident the shift in your focus will bless you just as it did me.

Thank you for letting me share a piece of my journey and heart with you. I hope you were blessed by it in some way. Please share so others can be encouraged as well.

Be Love Give Love

~ Abby Lewis


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8 Responses to Autism Birthday Agony: Attitude Adjusted

  1. Jeannette Bishop says:

    Thank you for sharing the inspiration in this list and a peek at your son’s soul!

  2. Abby Lewis says:

    I have grown a lot because of my son Shia. Life has gotten more peaceful since I shifted my focus on all the beautiful things in my son. Our circumstances are still the same but I have more joy and peace with this mindset and attitude. ❤️

  3. Truly beautiful, Abby.
    Appreciating what is and who shares our life, is essential. Shia will continue to develop. It looks as if you will enjoy his pace and accomplishments.

    As an OT, your description of Shia tells me so much about him. You have introduced a beautiful soul.

    Letha Marchetti author of ~
    Dragons & Dragons: Keys to Resolve Baffling Behavior in Early Childhood Education

  4. Suzanne Burrall says:

    Thank you for this. It is so easy for us to focus on the negative. And positives are much more abundant, and they are accessible through God, and through prayer.
    Thank you.

    • Abby Lewis says:

      Thank you for engaging in the post. You are right it is so easy to focus on the negative. It takes more effort to shift our thoughts to the positive. But it is so worth it. ❤️

  5. Pammypies says:

    This is perfect.

    Once I started reflecting on what my son CAN DO instead of what he CAN’T, our lives got better. I tell this to anyone who will listen. In fact, I said this the other day to a mom who thinks she can’t love her child because of her child’s autism.

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