the weight of hope & autism

“Will Wilson still have autism when he’s all grown up?”  My little girl asked, continually curious and looking out for her big brother.

“Yes, he will,” I told her with a smile.

<enter her look of pure shock>

“But! How will get married? His girlfriend won’t understand him!”

Sometimes these conversations are hard.  

They can be beautiful moments of learning about people and their differences and all the reasons we love and celebrate uniqueness.

They can also knock the wind right from your lungs when you least expect it, while in line at the grocery store, or in the stillness of a bedtime routine.   

When your child is born, you know you’d stand in front of a bullet or a train for them. What you don’t realize is that it will likely never be that simple.

Hope in the world of parenting and autism can be heavy. 

It’s like invisible, antiquated body armor you pack on each day. You always feel the weight but know you need to carry it.

There are days when it’s just easier to set it down, to rest. And that’s ok.

Sometimes you need innocent conversations with a five-year-old to remind you to pick up your hope and keep going. That the weight is worth it. 

“Of course, he can get married! He is learning more and more every single day, just like you are, sweet girl. He just learns in a different way.”

I’m carrying hope with love and confidence today. You can bet if I ever set it down, it will not be for long.  

the big stuff

There were years where I felt like this boy could hardly see me.  Our days consisted of struggling to communicate, trying to help him stay calm and regulated, and fighting for a glimpse into his world.

I waited so long to hear him call me “mom.”

Now, every night, he doesn’t go to bed without giving me a hug and a “goodnight, mom.”  If I’m not nearby, he comes to find me.

He’s also been using manners like “please” and “thank you”—completely unprompted and enthusiastically.

Sometimes we get too caught up in the evaluations, assessments, IEP meetings, and desensitization programs that we don’t take time to recognize, appreciate, and truly celebrate the BIG stuff.

Sometimes progress is painfully slow.

But, nonetheless, it is progress.

Celebrate it. It’s huge.

The progress in your life will never look the same as someone else’s, so don’t miss what is right in front of you.