Happy 1st day of Autism Awareness Month!
I wish I was celebrating for any other reason. Much like cancer, I wish there was no need for having an awareness month because it would not be an issue. Boy how I wish Autism did not exist.
My son is a blessing. A difficult, wonderful, annoying, frustrating, loving, blessing. But I will tell you what is more of a blessing....having one child with Autism and one child without Autism. It helps remind me of the "normal" things that we take for granted. Raising children is really difficult. They don't come with manuals, but we hopefully mentally write our own as we go. It is bittersweet to struggle so much with Caleb and for things to be so much easier with Jansen. It makes me search out for those little accomplishments Caleb makes and it makes me enjoy the parenting of a neurotypical child.
It is a blessing when Caleb voluntarily hugs a member of the family, whether he does it because he has learned that it is socially appropriate, or whether he truly feels like hugging someone because he loves them. It is a blessing when Caleb says "If I don't go to the store with you will it hurt your feelings?" because he is registering that his actions have affects on others and he was able to verbalize it. It is a blessing for him to finally be so mad at me that he says "I hate you!" because that means I am parenting him, not just enabling him, and he is using language that typically developing children use. (although it stung in my heart)
It is a blessing that Jansen is such a people pleaser who loves to help out in any way possible. It is a blessing that I can tell Jansen to do something, and he ALWAYS happily does so WITH using his manners. It is a blessing that I can change plans in the middle of the day with him and he doesn't blink an eye.
Our family is affected by Autism, but it doesn't define us. It has changed my life dramatically in ways that I often can't articulate. I will continue to be an advocate for my child and for others who might not have a voice. My son is different, not less, and I love him the best!