November 10, 2010

Accepting the Unimaginable

Accepting autism.

What does it mean?

My son turned seven in August.

I first started worrying about autism when he was just one-year-old.

So I have been confronting autism for well over six years.

But have I truly accepted autism?

In some ways I have.

I know it is here.

It is here in my life every day.

Because my son has autism.

Put it on a tee-shirt. I will wear it.

Look at us while I chase him through a department store.

Gawk, if you are so ignorant and so inclined, while he stims with a plastic fork in Chic-fil-A.

This is our life. This is my family. This is what autism looks like.

If you don't like it, I really don't give a crap.

I know there is nothing I did to cause my son's autism.

THAT, in itself, must be a part of acceptance.

Because there was a time in my life when I wondered if I was to blame for my son's obstacles.

I also know there isn't anything I can do to change my son's autism.

That, too, must be a part of acceptance.

But I still have a responsibility to help him achieve what he is capable of achieving... whatever that is.

And THAT is probably one of the most difficult aspects of accepting, and dealing with, autism.

How do I best help my child?

And how do I maintain a sense of self?

HOW can I balance the roles of (1) mother of a seven-year-old boy, (2) caretaker to this child who needs constant care, (3) teacher to this child who needs as much teaching as he can get during the course of each day, and (4) mother to the "other" child -- the incredibly inquisitive, five-year-old daughter who so frequently stands on the side-lines while her brother gets the majority of my attention????

Wasn't I once someone else???? Oh, yes, I once was a wife. I once was a young woman full of love and dreams. I once was a girl who had no idea what life had in store. I even went to college; I even had an advanced degree. I thought I was going to BE SOMEBODY.....

Yes, there was once a time in my life when I had an identity that had NOTHING to do with autism.

Times change.

What does it mean to accept autism?

Hell if I know.

Maybe someday I will figure it out.

Here's hoping .....


  1. That was beautifully written! I am still getting to that full acceptance of autism. It is so hard! I so know how you feel. I'm going through all these same motions.

  2. As a single mom your financial burden can be overwhelming and discouraging. One important thing to remember, you're not alone. There are other single moms out there going through similar situations. Sometimes it helps just to vent and give each other encouraging words.