Having a child on the spectrum is, on its easiest days, a challenge.
I still pray every night for Eli to be healed and for him to be relieved from the struggles and challenges that he faces every day. On those days when I allow fear to grip me or sadness to take over, I plead with God to help my baby. And then there are the days when I feel I can’t help at all, and I go to sleep, heart-broken, wishing I could relieve him from the stress he faces.
However, in the middle of all of this, of the day-to-day routine, there is something so sweet and explainable about it all.
Besides praying for healing, I have started to pray that if God chooses to allow Eli to walk this path, that He bless him with the tools he will need to cope with a world not made for him. I pray that God gives him strength and confidence, and that as his mother; I can instill an undefeatable self-worth into his life. I pray that God helps our family grow to be the best support system we can be, and that Jason and I can be best parents we can be. I pray for guidance in the choices we face, and for Eli to be surrounded by people who will encourage him and advocate on his behalf.
Baby Joseph is one and growing by leaps and bounds every day. He is hitting every milestone (as parents of a child with autism, we are milestone experts!). I find myself relishing every word spoken, every long gaze. Today I held him and just soaked in the eye contact as he drifted to sleep.
I took so much for granted with Adam; while I enjoyed the newness of each first laugh, step, and word, I was so in a hurry to move to the next phase. Having a child with autism has taught me to enjoy the moment and appreciate the little things, to slow done and savor, not to be in a hurry to see my babies grow up.
Eli has always had a way of showing us affection, whether it was a smile, a squeeze, or, my favorite, leaning his head on your arm as he eats dinner beside you. His precious little personality exudes love. But even with all this affection, it was only a short time ago – at age four – that those three little words came out: “I love you!” Amazing! I know of others who have yet to hear those words and my heart breaks for them. Having a child with autism has taught me that sometimes the littlest words or actions mean the most. Hearing your child say “I love you”, is one of those moments, and I hope to never take these words for granted, not from Eli, or from any of my children
I recently read a blog title that warned, “Don’t tell me my child’s autism is a gift.” No, autism most definitely is not a gift; the gift is to see the beauty, grace, and love in spite of it.