You Are My Son’s Challenge, and I Accept You — Daily!
Does the heading above for my letter to autism sound odd to you? It’s my son’s birth right, if you will, but I accept it daily. What is this, you say? Me, accept it daily, how dare… Wait, let me explain.
It is his diagnosis, yes, not mine. It’s a part of him and not all of him — let me first say that so we’re clear. It’s a part of him that’s a daily challenge, and I wake to it each and every day. I greet it with my first cup of coffee, and it joins me in my first prayers of the day before I can even begin them. It follows him to school in our car and into the classroom inside his backpack. His challenges stay with him through the morning hours of learning and even through the lunchroom and bathroom after that. They don’t leave him as he attempts to make friends on the playground at recess late in the day either. His challenges hang on tightly up until I roll up in that pick-up line to get him and he greets me with an all too familiar sigh of relief.
Yes, Autism, you cause many anxieties and uncertainties in my son’s life, and I know you will continue to attempt this therefore — you are my challenge. I take you on daily, and it’s personal. I could choose to sit back and let you work your destruction through his life and turn a blind eye to what might come of him, but Autism, that’s not going to happen; you’ve picked on the wrong family! I will question his diagnosis, I will question his therapies — current and future — I will question his education — each and every year — and I will question other obstacles down the road. So far, from questioning these things, this child of mine who once had no words is now a verbal second grader who made the honor roll this year. He’s tried his hand at horseback riding and even had the chance to play on our city league basketball team (a team sport… hmm… Hello, Autism. You normally say those with you just cannot play in team sports. Well take that shut up juice !). He not only learned to put one through a basket but also — and this is the best part (so listen up, Autism) — a bunch of 9- and 10-year-olds accepted him, more or less, for who he is — just a kid, like them.
Autism, you no doubt will continue to challenge us, and we will take you on daily. I for one am not worried; I have a lot of coffee and prayer awaiting you. See you in the morning hours — as always!
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