I’ve been thinking about all the changes that have been happening in my life in the last couple months. And I got to thinking about how my life has changed from what I thought it would be. And how I have changed from the person I was before autism. Some parts I am sad about – sad about what I’m missing out on. Sad about leaving all my friends and family. Sad about leaving my job. Sad about leaving our first home. I think sometimes about what my life would be like if Carter was a typical kid. Some parts wouldn’t be different – we go to zoos, waterparks, parks, sporting events, the grocery store, the mall, out to eat, church, etc. But some parts would be dramatically different. We would talk about everything – what he wants to do, what he likes, what he doesn’t like. We’d have silly conversations about nothing. He’d tell me about his friends and ask to go over to their house to play. That’s the only part I feel sad about. Don’t get me wrong, we have a great relationship and a very strong bond, but it’s just different.
When I think about how I’ve changed since Carter’s diagnosis, I am less sad. When I look back, I am actually embarrassed by the path I was headed down. I cared about things and not people. I cared about how big my house was and what kind of car I drove. I cared about what designer purse I had and where my clothes came from. I cared about how my life looked to others. And I’m ashamed. I forgot what was important – truly important in this life. And it’s not things. All of those things I mentioned could be taken away in a moment. I let idols into my life and forgot about God. God used Carter to help me be a better person. To realign my heart and mind on the things that truly matter – people. I am better for being his mom. He helped me see unconditional love and what that really means. I love him for one reason and one reason only – he’s my son. Nothing will make me love him more and nothing will make me love him less. It’s amazing to know that someone loves me in exactly the same way – God. He loves me despite myself. He loves me at my worst.
When I think about change the first thing that always pops up in my mind is the serenity prayer. I feel like God has been working with me on this for quite a while. I have a hard time accepting that I can’t change things. I am a doer and a fixer. I feel like this is where autism has played the biggest role in my life. I can’t fix autism. And just as God grants me grace and meets me where I am, it is my job as his mom to extend that same grace to him. To meet him right where he is at. To be not only content, but happy in this season of life. To have courage to help him and get him the help he needs, but wisdom to know that accepting the fact that things might not be different doesn’t mean I’m giving up. It means that I am loving my child for exactly who he is. Courageously hoping for something more for him, and yet, still gracefully accepting where he’s at.