I’ve been struggling to write this post.
It’s the end of April, and typically my annual post about our life on the Autism Spectrum comes out in early April, just in time for World Autism Day.
But this year I’ve had a really hard time finding the words.
And yet I have so much I want to say.
My sweet Max…the boy who has inspired me to write this post every year, he is growing up right before my eyes.
He is finishing up his kindergarten year and it has been my greatest gift seeing him and my daughter, Mia, get on the bus every morning together. He absolutely loves going to school and I am just so damn grateful.
He also lives for playing with the neighbor kids after school. All of this pandemic outside play has done wonders for us…one of the bright spots of the past year and I selfishly hope it continues.
He still has such a love for animals, and right now he is dying over the fact that a mommy bird made a nest in the bird house he painted last spring and he checks on those three little blue eggs each and every day.
And while we are still working hard on language, the words continue to come…and the questions. The deep, philosophical questions like, Who was the first person to live in the world?…and, Does heaven have an inside or is it just outside?
He can tell us things like, I’m thinking about something, when he appears to not be listening or it seems like he is tuning us out…and we are learning that Max is pretty much always thinking. And that his beautiful mind probably never stops.
Each and every day I am just blown away by something he says or something he does.
And I could write novels about it.
That isn’t what I’ve been struggling with.
Now that Max is not so little anymore, I think about the fact that he will be able to read these words on his momma’s blog someday.
And I wonder how he will feel about me telling his story on such a public forum.
So I’ve been kind of stuck in this place of not knowing how to proceed with these posts…even though I still have so much in my heart that I want to share.
Truthfully, I’ve never wanted to hide Max’s diagnosis from anyone. I’ve always felt it was important to be open about our life.
And when I started writing posts in April five years ago, I just needed to write.
I just needed to get my feelings out.
And you have all been so gracious…listening every step of the way.
When I think about all Max has worked through. All he has overcome. And all he reveals himself to be, I feel nothing but pride and gratitude.
And I love having those posts to look back on now….not just for us, but for those who are new to the world of Autism, as it can be so overwhelming and lonely at first. I know that lonely.
Five years in, I also know the beauty that is there when you are ready to see it.
The hope. The joy.
I know that your kiddos will absolutely amaze you. They will change you in more ways you can count.
You will learn to celebrate everything, because the little things in life are truly what matter most. You will learn to throw timelines out the window…and just take life one day at a time.
You will be more empathetic, more patient, more open minded, and you will think twice before passing judgement on another soul.
You will meet the most incredible people – teachers, therapists, and other special needs families and they will become your village.
And your child will show you how to be brave and how to persist no matter what you are faced with.
Life might look different than you imagined, but it’s so good, friends.
I hope I have shared that, too.
And when Max gets older and he finds these blog posts, I hope he feels the way my heart could just about burst with love for who he is.
How I am so very thankful for all he has taught me.
And how it’s an absolute privilege to be his momma.
And I also hope that, for those of you who who are reading this…especially if you have been following our story, that Max has taught you something, too…that you will think about my sweet boy and kiddos like him…especially as they grow up. And not just in April.
Because the world needs people like him…people who can hear and feel and see things that most of us never take the time to notice. Who reveal the beauty in simplicity, but also think about the simplest things with such unparalleled complexity.
And because April might be Autism Awareness month, but what I want most for my son, beyond his own happiness, is acceptance and empathy and true and meaningful inclusion.
Friends, I once again thank you for allowing me to interrupt this space and share what’s in my heart. You all have been nothing but supportive over the years and I am so grateful.
This may or may not be the last post I share here about our life on the spectrum, but I will never stop advocating for Max and for other kids and adults with Autism.
April is Autism Awareness + Acceptance month, so feel free to share. To read more of our story, check out these posts from other years:
Dorothy Williamson says
I stumbled upon your blog and am SOOOO happy I did. I too have a son with Autism. I call him my Superman. He is now 23 years-old. It is all the little things in life that sometimes people don’t see that we cherish. My son now lives in a fantastic small option home (because he’s stronger than me now) where I live. Typically we get to see him every week when we pick him up. Right now we are on a lockdown and my husband and I haven’t gotten to see him in about three weeks.. I call every couple of days and ask how my man is. I did this as usual on Sunday and then received a call from his house just before supper. He NEVER talks on the phone. He never has. Well, I answered the phone to hear his voice wishing me a Happy Mother’s Day. I thanked him and said I love you. He responded I love you, too. I cried. I’m tearing up as I write this. I thanked the staff member who was able to get him to do this. It is these AMAZING people that are allowing me to be his mom again and not just his caregiver. Enjoy your son and enjoy watching him explore the world and maybe explore the world with him through his eyes. Happy Belated Mother’s Day.
This! All of this! Your words always seem like I could have written the same thing! Thank you again for expressing so well what we experience. The lows can be low but oh my goodness the highs are high! 💕
Yes – exactly that. It feels so good to know you aren’t alone…at least that’s how it is for me. ❤️ Hugs, momma.
Margie Clifft says
Such a beautiful story Nancylynn! Autism takes very special people to recognize the needs of it and you are one of those very special people! Love your blogs with Max and his progress every day! Precious family indeed!
Sweet Margie – it is so good to hear from you! Thank you for your kind words and for the love…I hope that you are doing well, too. I think of you often. ❤️
Oh my goodness. So beautifully written, as always. It made me tear up. 💙
Thank you, friend. Love you ❤️