Monday, April 2, 2012

Blue Light Special

Autism Awareness Day

This blog is not about autism. 
This blog is autism.
Although I don't often talk about how autism affects
each and every moment of our waking life,
it is always there, like a constant companion.
We have been immersed in the highs and lows of it,
been through all the stages of anger, grief,
frustration, and helplessness,
and landed in a place of choosing to simply embrace it.

Having unraveled the truth of our family's destiny,
I have come to realize what a blessing
our lives are because of autism,
not in spite of it.
Autism did that.

My boy is my greatest teacher. 
Grateful doesn't even come close to describing how I feel about this amazing person
with whom I've been blessed to share my life.
There have been so many struggles along the way,
but through it all, he's taught me more about
myself than all those philosophical books
I read back in my 20's and 30's.
Experiential learning sticks.
Autism did that.

I never thought I was a strong person. 
Growing up, I was the only person in my family
who ever seemed to cry.
Always bawled during Lassie.
Talk about sensitive!
I've come to realize that it doesn't mean
that you're weak if you cry.
It shows how strong you are that you can
face and express your feelings. 
Autism did that too.

Having been through so many tough experiences with
Lil' Guy has made me stronger than I ever thought I could be.
There's nothing like someone messin' with your baby
to bring out the Momma Lion in you.
And so, this once 7 pound, 11 ounce bundle of cuddliness
has shown me exactly what I'm made of.
And all that I can be.
I'm evolving right along with him.
And this blog reflects that evolution.
Autism quietly but profoundly did that.

If just one person reads this and becomes
more compassionate, more understanding
and less judgemental about a child with autism,
it's a worthwhile endeavor.
We are still given looks of judgement or stared at on occasion.
The difference is, that because of taking this journey,
I no longer care what other people think of us.
They're not living the life.
The bonus is that it's helped me to be that much more
compassionate and caring about other people
with differences, whatever they may be.
Autism did that and so much more.

Although I don't agree with some of the positions
of the Autism Speaks organization,
I appreciate them bringing more awareness to the world
with their "Light It Up Blue" campaign.
We'll be switching out our porch light again this year
for the month of April,
and buying a few more bulbs for others to share.

If you don't currently know someone on the autism spectrum,
just wait a while.
With 1 in 54 boys being diagnosed,
it's inevitable.

For more information on autism,
click on these links: