Last year, on World Autism Awareness Day, I shared some of our story here on the blog.
I wrote about my son, Max.
Max is four years old. He’s got a killer smile, great hair, and a love for singing and acting silly. He wears Superman shirts almost every day and loves to watch things blow in the wind. He has the best laugh I’ve ever heard.
Max also has Autism. He was diagnosed a year and a half ago…and saying those words was still very new and difficult at the time I shared my post with you all.
But writing that post was a turning point for me. It was therapeutic…cathartic even…and while the tears flowed non stop while I was writing it, and even more so when I read all of your beautiful comments of support and love, I knew I needed to get those words out and share them.
I needed to put them out there. I needed that release.
And an amazing thing happened as I relived some of the dark days leading up to our diagnosis.
I realized just how far we had come.
I realized all the tiny miracles. The big wins.
And I haven’t stopped.
I know our experience with Autism is uniquely our own, that our situation might not compare to those of another family’s. But I can tell you this, in our life on the spectrum, nothing goes uncelebrated.
And there is so much beauty in that.
It could be as simple as some unprompted eye contact, a new word, or my kids sitting next to each other and playing for a few minutes…or as big as a successful family outing or hearing Max say “Mommy – look!” for the first time (and every time since).
All of it means so much.
And as Max gets older, there are many more of these miracles and wins. This past year has been full of them.
We took our first family vacation in years.
It was only four days, but there was a time when I didn’t know if we would ever go on a vacation again…Max does not do well in new places and often asks to go home after just an hour or two of being somewhere.
But we went. And it was exhausting and amazing.
In the fall, Max started preschool. Finding the right school was no easy task – it literally consumed my life at this time last year. As far as the spectrum of Autism goes, Max is sort of right in the middle for most things. So a classroom for kids with a lot of needs isn’t quite appropriate, and yet a classroom of typical peers wasn’t going to do it, either.
Thankfully, we found an inclusion classroom and
fought like hell found a way to get him on the roster and it’s going really well. We are hoping to keep him there again next year.
And language. Oh the beautiful language. The beautiful, nonstop, momma-just-needs-a-minute-to-collect-her-thoughts- so-can-you-be-quiet language.
You guys, Max talks my ear off. All. Day. Long.
Sometimes I actually forget that there was a time I could count his words on one hand. There was a time where I was so grateful for the few signs he knew. The sign for need help was literally life changing.
We are still working conversations and answering questions, but Max can ask for what he wants and comment on things – it’s yummy, it’s windy, it’s funny, I want a cookie, not that cookie, the other cookie!…oh and my favorite- Where’s Mommy?
I will never get tired of hearing that.
Even when I just want 5 second of alone time (hello…I am in the bathroom, thanks)…I hear that boy say “Where’s Mommy” and I die a little.
It’s all so amazing.
Through the hard work, the daily struggles, the uncertainty about the future, the doctors appointments and tough decisions, there are all these gifts.
And for that, I am forever thankful.
Thank you for once again allowing me to interrupt this space and share what’s in my heart. And for those of you who know and love Max, we are so grateful for our village. Our friends and family who love Max for who he is…no awkwardness or explanations needed…you are our everything.
April is Autism Awareness month, so feel free to share. To read more of our story, check out this post from last year’s Autism Awareness Day.