Saturday, July 28, 2012

10 Years After

I'm actually a little premature writing this post; Nic's 10 year dx anniversary is still several weeks away. But, in the eye of eternity, 3 weeks is nothing, and I'm pretty sure what I am moved to write now will still be true on August 15.

Looking back over the last decade to the day that changed everything about our lives, I find myself humbled and grateful by the many teachers, therapists, friends, and strangers whose kindnesses, great and small, have helped my family adapt, adjust, progress, grow and thrive. I still wince when I remember some episodes and encounters with people who were less than kind, and I wince when I think of all the times I lost my temper or composure in the face of unkindness, ignorance, and prejudice.

By the same token, I look on all of our experiences with life on the spectrum with gratitude and wonder, and am floored by the sheer number of blessings that this life has revealed to us. I often pride myself on my ingenuity at all the opportunities I have created for both boys, but at the same time, I know that ingenuity has its roots in the countless conversations I've had with other parents who have already been there, blazed those trails, carried those weights. And I find myself paying it all forward to parents who are just getting to some of the places my boys have already been, lighting their way, guiding their footsteps.

Autism changed our lives forever. But finding those hidden blessings on this long and rocky road has altered the way I live--for the better. I remember a point about 5 years ago where I was quite bitter about the person I had become--I didn't ask for any of this, and this was not the person I was supposed to be, or so I thought.

Then life intervened, various crises needed to be sorted out, and I kind of forgot that thought until yesterday.

If I had the chance to talk to the me from 5 years ago, I'd give her a good shake. And kick her ass, for good measure.

I've had a lot of really good role models to learn well from. And I have had the weight of my own experience to balance what my gut has told me at any given point. And I have lived long enough to know that nothing lasts.

So, as I listen to my chatty young men talk between themselves, I'm thankful that they can talk to one another, that they love each other, and that they have each other. And I am thankful that I have them both. They have made my life a fuller, richer, and much more interesting place than it might be otherwise.

And I can't believe how far he's come. Not that he doesn't still have a long way to go, but that he's where he is now is always a source of amazement.

I can't wait to see what the next 10 years bring.

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