Be the Change
Before I became a mom, autism was my greatest fear.
I remember praying to God, begging really, "Please don't give me autism." I just knew that autism was that one thing that I could not handle.
Fast forward six years, and I have two beautiful boys. Finley is six. He is smart and a little sarcastic (I don't know where he gets that from...). He is also the most compassionate child I have ever met. I think this has much to do with his personality, it's just always been a part of who he is. I also think his brother has a lot to do with it.
Colin is five years old. He, like his brother, is smart. He is the sweetest, most affectionate child you'll ever met. Colin also has severe autism.
I will be the first to tell you that I am not a "special' parent. I am not "strong"by any means. I am no more equipped for this job of special needs parenting than you or anyone else.
I just love both of my children more than I love donuts...and I really love donuts.
When he first received his diagnosis at the age of three, I didn't feel the need to broadcast it to the world.
"Hello, Social Media World, Colin has autism!"
Nope, I didn't do that at all. Our family and friends knew, of course, but I didn't feel like I owed the world an explanation. This was Colin's diagnosis. It was ours to handle as a family.
A few months into it though, my mindset changed. I had this beautiful, amazing little boy, and I wanted to world to understand him. I wanted the world to love him for who is, just as I love him. I wanted the world to accept his differences and love him for those differences. No, I didn't owe the world a thing, but I owed it to my son to be his voice when he didn't have one.
So I started writing. I just wanted to share our story, to teach the world about my son who has autism. I never dreamed that writing would connect me to so many other moms out there. Moms who are experiencing the same things with their children. Moms who worry just as much as I do. Moms who celebrate all of the little victories, just like we do in our home. Moms who wonder what their child's future might look like. Moms who just get it.
Over the course of the last year, my mission has grown. My heart is with autism and the families affected by it. This is a bold statement, but I want to change the world.
I want to help create a world that is not just aware of autism. I want to see a world that accepts autism.
I want Colin to live in a world that accommodates his needs without seeing it as an imposition.
I want Colin to live in a world where people see him for who is and love him for it.
I want Colin to live in a world that acknowledges his struggles, and celebrates his victories.
I want Colin to live in a world that sees his value and encourages him to pursue his dreams.
This is my goal, and I'm sure that I speak for many parents out there who feel the same way. Mahatma Gandhi said it best: "Be the change you wish to see in the world."
This is so, so true. If I want that world to exist for my son, I have to work toward that goal. I will share our story, because I believe that stories are worthless without being shared. I believe that I was given this incredible opportunity as Colin's mom, and I am going to do my best to give him the life that he deserves. This is not the path I would have chosen for my life, but I am so thankful that God saw fit to give me this child who has autism. Colin turned our world upside down, and now I'll turn the world upside down for him.
As I said earlier, I am not special, strong, or uniquely-equipped for this task, but I do have an unending love and devotion for my son, and I will stop at nothing to give him his best life. I will work to build a strong community around him, and I encourage you to do the same. Share your story, because your story has worth and meaning. We are in this together.
Now, let's do this. Let's change the world.