My son greeted me the other day with, “Whew, Mom, I only have two more years to go and then I am off to college.” I did not respond. He continued, “You know 11th and then 12th grade and then off to college.”
My focus wandered away to “What if my son did not have autism?” If I could check mark the box “normal” when identifying him, then yes, he would begin the 11th grade in the fall. He would ask a pretty and excited girl to the prom and he would drive them out to a nice dinner before the prom because he had his driver’s license with an antique truck to drive.
Suddenly, I snapped back into OUR reality. I cautiously answered, “Well, Son, because of the autism you also have a delay sometimes in learning so we are studying at a level like 7th or 8th graders right now.” Confused, he asked, “So I have at least five more years to go and then off to college?” To ease the frustration I enthusiastically added, “Well, you know we pray about your autism and God can help your learning abilities to advance at any time, so who knows, in your home school program, you may be able to move up quickly.” When he walked away, I thanked God, “Thank you God for hearing my son claim normalcy in our world of anything but normal.”
Is it okay to dream how it would be like if autism never existed? Yes, I believe it is. But, I will not choose to have a pity party – you know, the kind no one attends except ourselves! Autism days can be so difficult when my teenage son chooses to cry like a four year old on/ off all afternoon because his dad put in a Scooby-Doo video he didn’t want to watch. Learning to let go of things that simply do not matter in this world is difficult for my son. This trickles down to frustrations among family members.
Recently, I found myself singing a song that I have no idea why it came to my head except that I knew I wanted to share in this post. One of the lines goes, “My cross I’ll carry til I see Jesus. My cross I’ll carry til I see Jesus. No turning back. No turning back.” As I continued to sing, tears followed. Autism is a cross that I will carry til I see Jesus and sometimes it is heavy, it is painful, it is exhausting, it is confusing, it is agonizing, BUT I will carry my cross because it leads me to Jesus! This makes the difficult cross of autism all worth it.
Just because our worlds seem disrupted many days and they do not feel normal, they are normal to Jesus because he allowed them into our lives. Sadly, when everything is normal and calm, we relax and become complacent with little need for Jesus who allowed this normal to fill our lives. On the other hand, when normalcy isn’t an everyday occurrence, we find ourselves leaning more on Jesus for guidance and wisdom. As “normal” sprinkles into our lives more, we find ourselves “praising Jesus” because we are fully aware that he allowed the normal to find us. This was a gift from Him.
What if? ….with autism, I choose to discover the marvelous ways a child touched by autism and a family touched by autism can inspire, encourage, and positively transform this world into a better place.
Order your copy of Marvel in your Autistic Eyes and discover the amazing beautiful character qualities children with autism want to share with our world.