As I stepped through the doors of motherhood, I had many questions:
How often do I feed him?
Should I pick him up every time he cries?
Is a four hour nap in the afternoon too long?
It wasn’t long before people were asking me the questions. You know, the biggies:
People: “Did vaccinations cause autism in your boys?”
Me: I don’t believe so. I think they could have been a contributing factor, but there’s no way to be absolutely sure. I think there were many contributing factors, including genes (at least for my boys).
People: “If you could go back and make different choices, what would you choose differently?”
Me: The only thing I might do differently would be to slow-track the vaccination schedule. That’s it.
People: “Have you heard of the casein-free gluten-free diet?”
Me: Sounds familiar.
People: “Do you think you should find a school that can board them and give them the care they need?”
Me: No. I don’t believe anyone can love our boys as much as we do; therefore, no one can care for them better. Furthermore, I think children thrive better in in loving homes than in institutions where it’s all results-driven. Just my opinion.
People: “Was it Neil’s fault or your fault they’re autistic?”
People: “Do you regret having kids?”
Me: No way. Not. Even. A. Little.
People: “If you knew your kids were going to be autistic, would you have kept them?”
Me: Absolutely! On that note, I’m grateful I didn’t know. Not knowing saved me from a lot of stress. There are a lot of things in life I’m grateful for not knowing ahead of time. I just don’t need that extra stress.
People: “Do you wish your kids were normal?”
Me: Every once in awhile, I wonder what it would be like to hear Noah tell me about his day at school or hear Judah say, “Mom, I would really like to go to 7-Eleven and get a Slurpee.” As a mom, I don’t like seeing them struggle in the day-to-day stuff, like dressing on their own or brushing their own teeth. Autism often interrupts their comprehension in their daily education. On that note, autism is a part of who they are, how they think, how they interpret the world, and I love that part! I wouldn’t change that for the world. I love who they are and who they are becoming.
It’s through them I’ve learned not to resist life’s hardships and challenges. And maybe my perspective could use a little tweaking. As hard as it is to see my dreams crash like a sandcastle when the tide rolls in and my expectations dashed to pieces like a barrel over a waterfall, I’ve found a powerful peace in surrender. Struggles, I’m learning, are opportunities to exchange my dreams for God’s. When it comes to Noah and Judah, I know there was no mistake on His part; He doesn’t make mistakes.
Daily, I’m learning to allow God to dream His dream in my life, as well as in theirs. That’s why I’m not afraid to dream big.
People: “Are you afraid of the future?”
Me: Sometimes I am afraid. I’m afraid both of what I see and what I don’t see. I wonder who will care in the moment most needed. I imagine what change will be like when we turn the corner. Will it be good, or is something scary lurking in shadows?
People: “How do you believe in a God that would do this to your family?”
Me: Let’s face it. This life is full of crappy stuff. No matter who you are, it just is. I can either believe that life is way bigger than what God can handle, and take it as it comes, or I can believe God is way bigger than anything life can throw at me, and literally trust Him for the outcome. I know for a fact, I can’t do this on my own, nor do I want to. The power of positive thinking isn’t going to get me through this. While my experience is obviously limited to my life, I can tell you God is bigger than anything. No matter what He allows, it’s going to be okay. Sometimes, I need to learn what is “okay” and just trust Him.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust…
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart. Do not rely on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will level (or direct) your paths.”
Trust Him. Acknowledge Him. Way easier said than done. So, one day at a time, sometimes one moment at a time I will choose to trust and not be afraid. Why should I be afraid of the future? Jesus is already there. Only when I’m hanging on to Him for my life can I truly be at rest and enjoy this adventure.
“When you call to Me and pray to Me, I will listen to you. When you seek Me, you will find Me, provided you seek for me wholeheartedly…”
I don’t have all the answers. In fact, I’m still full of inquiries much of the time! But if you have any questions about autism or disability in our lives, or you would like to see a post on a specific topic, let me know! If you have a personal question and want a private answer, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Otherwise, reply in the section below. I look forward to reading your comments!