It’s taken me years to process and get my head around how to even start to appreciate my boys without accepting their autism and ID diagnosis! It wasn’t until about 3 years ago (1 year into my Christian journey) that I actually learnt about a loving God, who didn’t give you autism to teach you a lesson or punish you for your past indiscretions! However, this beautiful life changing revelation also brought with it a lot of sadness and a sense of failure on my part, because for the next 3 years I struggled with understanding how you could live a life where you didn’t have to have autism (because our God is not a God of sickness), and yet autism was a part of my everyday life. Unfortunately, the stresses of raising three boys diagnosed with autism led me to the darkest depths of despair that I’ve ever experienced in my life!
Anyway, yesterday for the first time I had a realisation that my boys are not autism, their identity is not autism BUT they are affected by autism and thus their behaviours, struggles with communication, sensory issues, and unawareness of danger and social boundaries reflects this. I do not love autism, I do not like autism, I believe in miracles and God’s power and that there is no autism in heaven BUT it’s not my job to fix or get rid of autism (because boy have I tried for 9 years to get rid of it), NOW though I can trust in God for that (which isn’t an easy task, but one I am looking forward to trying).
As mum to these bundles of energy, it is my job to provide love, care, attention, a safe environment and nourishment to these boys (even when it means cooking three different meals so that they’ll all eat one thing off their plate). It is my job as their mother to raise them to be the best them they can be- whatever that looks like! AND It is most definitely my job to stand up for their rights, and to speak up for their needs in a society that can be harsh and uninclusive.
It is my privilege to celebrate every success and bit of progress they make- like helping to pull up their own pants, or recognising the phrase “go car” and heading for the door, or amazing progress- when you yell the word ‘stop’ as they go to run too far from you and they actually listen to the word- no bribe required. It is my privilege to learn who they are as individuals and interact with them the best I can. For the first time in a decade, it’s life changing and exciting to be valuing my role as a mum/carer!
The last point I want to share is that I’ve realised that this life I’m living is about seeing past the effects of autism which can too easily steal, kill and destroy your joy, happiness, enthusiasm and zest for life. And I am so very ready to start living a life where I stop comparing my own life to that of neurotypical/ normal situations (it’s just torturous). No one’s life is perfect, and autism is stressful to deal with BUT my boys are beautiful unique individuals and I want to focus on who they really are- their real identity, the essence of who they are BECAUSE they are NOT autism!