Dear Autism…

Dear Autism-

You came into our life without notice. An unwelcome and unrelenting force. You nestled yourself deep into the core of my family. Into the core of everything around me. You made yourself at home; in my home.

You take the things you want to take. You do not ask permission. You place challenge upon challenge along our path. You do not give us reason. You change direction and intensity out of nowhere. You do not give us warning.

But if I am certain of anything, I am certain of this; he is so much more than you. More than your symptoms. More than the obstacles you place in his way. More and bigger and stronger and braver than you will ever be.

It is easy to look at you and your presence in our life and say that it is all bad. But, that is not true. Because just as I know the wiggles and the behaviors and the speech limitations are you; I know there is more to you than that.

I know that you are his need to come close to me and gently rub his cheek up and down against my arm. I know that you are inside of the silly, often mis-timed, jokes he laughs louder than anyone else at.  I know you drive his hunger to know things. You engulf his beautiful brain. His tentative nature. His excitement. His joy. You engulf him.

I know that you are there. In the good moments and the bad ones.

You are somehow the best and worst part of our life. I hate you. And, I love you. I hate you for the things you have taken. And I, love you for the things you have given. I know that he could not be him without you. And so, I could not be me without you. Because he is a piece of me. And you are a piece of him. And in that way, you are a piece of all of us.

We have become dependent on you in that way. Your once unwelcome presence has become the only constant in our life. Your constant presence is the only way that you are predictable. The only true comfort you bring us.

We know that every morning when we wake up, you will be there. We know that as we struggle through our daily routines, you will be there. We know that in biggest most important moments of our lives, you will be there. We know each night when we sneak in to watch him sleep, you are there.

In so many moments of sadness and anger and fear I look over at him. But I am not looking at him at all. I am looking through him. Deep inside of him. I am looking at you. I am mad at you. I am frustrated with you. I am throwing my hands in the air and wanting to call you the victor. In those moments you have the edge. In those moments, you are beating me.

And then I stop looking through him. I look at him. I really see him. I see him without you. For just one moment I can separate you from him in my mind. And that is all in need to feel strong again. I stop looking through him to find you. I try to put you out of my mind altogether. In those moments, I am winning.

I told myself I would never truly welcome you. I will never give it all over to you. I will never toss you the reins and tell you to lead.  I will never give you the control. I will never give you the power.

Because just like you, I am strong. Just like you I am a piece of him. Just like you I am here with him every single day. So I cannot give him to you. Not all the way. Each day I will work with him to make you smaller and smaller. Each day we will learn new ways to overpower you.

I know that you will not leave. And,  I am still learning how to be ok with that. But, since you are going to be here, there are a few things you need to know.

I love him fiercely.

I am not afraid of you.

I will take the good with the bad. Every. Single. Day.  

He is amazing. 

He is so much more than the label you place upon him.

He is strong; stronger than you. 

We are all stronger than you.

You can stay. You can stay because I do not have much choice in the matter. And you can stay because in a way that I am only just starting to understand, you are a part of us. So you can stay. You can continue to reside among us. To exist in every moment we share together. To live in the core of our family.

And I won’t always like it, but I won’t always hate it either.

In a way that I could not comprehend until now, we are in this together. But, this is my son. This is my home. This is my family. This is my life. This is my motherhood. It is important to me that you remember that.

Kindly,

The Mom

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