When you come into my home and see nothing decorating surfaces or hanging on walls at toddler level, it is because Autism lives here. If we do not have a Christmas Tree again this year, if the Halloween decorations on the mantle are dissected, and if there is an empty chair at the Thanksgiving table from a little boy not wanting to socialize over a holiday meal, it is because Autism lives here. The baby books lost to shredding, the furniture moved out of his bedroom, the baby gates and zip ties over dead bolts, are all because Autism lives here.
Some days, like today, when I have tears because I’ve never heard that sweet little voice say “I love you, mama” it’s because Autism lives here. When I worry about if he will have friends or should I dare say- a girlfriend, what he would like to be when he grows up and if he’ll ever be able to use words to tell me, it is because Autism lives here.
The laughs you may hear coming through our windows when we all join in on his favorite stim of running around in a circle to chase him, are because Autism lives here. The exclamations of joy that shake the house when new words are spoken and the claps for a job well done on something that made him screech in distress the day before, are all because Autism lives here.
My ability to have a reason to stay the course and believe in someone more than I could ever believe in anything is also because Autism lives here. The ability to plan a dozen steps ahead yet remain utterly flexible in any given situation, the patience I have learned, and the opportunity to live life truly not caring what anyone sees, hears, or thinks when we go out in public, are all because Autism lives here.
Caleb is not a victim to his Autism. He’s simply…..Caleb. And he happens to have Autism. We don’t love him despite his Autism, we simply love him. Caleb lives here and Autism does too. Just because we didn’t invite Autism in with a welcome wagon doesn’t mean it’s not here. If you’re struggling with acceptance, don’t worry. You’ll get there. Give yourself some grace and a little more time. I used to close the door on Autism too but now it pretty much has a seat at the dinner table. Feel sad. Feel mad. Just don’t forget to feel grateful you have the opportunity to be the reason someone in this world becomes an amazing person who does amazing things.
Love and Autism,