Last Thursday, April 2nd, was World Autism Awareness Day . However, on that day we were all running around like chickens with our heads cut off trying to get things together for my oldest daughter to head to Texas for Spring Break so the day went unnoticed here on my blog. However, Autism Awareness is nothing new in our house and it's something observed daily as we go through each and every day with my son.
Today, for throw back Thursday (as well as to honor World Autism Awareness Day a week late), I would like to share with my readers a letter I wrote to my son. Originally written in June of 2011 when my son was 4 years old, it was the first posting to a now defunct blog I was writing entitled "Letters To Garrett". Started shortly after our diagnosis of autism spectrum, my original intention of that blog was to keep a journal of Garrett's life as we stumbled together though the uncharted forests of Autism and Einstein's syndrome. I share it here today so that other moms, at wits end, might feel the same love for their autistic children and know that even though they are not the same as their "normal" peers, they are still absolutely wonderful children full of love and wonder.
Many things have changed since I wrote this letter nearly 4 years ago. Many things have stayed the same.. The child that we were told might not write or learn much beyond the basics is now doing all of the above well ahead of his peers. The child I was told would most likely never speak is still delayed verbally but he does talk. He is a boy of very few words but when he does speak, he speaks with a purpose.
But the most important thing - He tells me "I Love you" more than a handful of times each day.
Music to my ears.
|Garrett (Age 8) with his sister
Letters to GarrettMy Dear Son,
As I write this, you are currently playing next to me.. From time to time, you look up at me and
Earlier this month, you were diagnosed with Autism. Dad and I always suspected it even when you were much younger but I guess the doctors in Michigan let you (and us) slip through the cracks. Some parents sit and blame themselves and ask "Why Me? Why my child?" when their child is labeled as something. Personally, I wouldn't change anything about you - to me, you are perfect. Autism is part of who you are and I like who that is.. Granted, you can be a terrible pain at times but your laugh, your curiosity, and your love for life is contagious. You are my son and I love you more than any label could ever diminish.
Right now, you are climbing on the couch next to me, smiling that huge smile that I love, laughing
Sometimes it is hard - wishing that you would just come to me and say "I love you" on your own, without me having to break each word down for you to repeat it. And Lord knows, you have given me a number of scares when you have found ways to sneak out of the house at 3am...something I thought I wouldn't have to worry about til you were a teenager, not at 4 years old. Or the mornings I wake up and go to let you out of your room (which now has a chain lock on the door to keep you in) only to find you and the walls and carpet painted in a very smelly shade of brown. There are times I ask myself what I did wrong...was it the shots that I got for you when you were an infant?? Did I do something wrong while I was pregnant with you?? But research says it just happens with no real rhyme or reason.
So now we begin this journey together my son. It won't be easy, I know this. But I am there for you to hold your hand...you may sometimes be alone in your mind, but you will never be truly alone. You will always have at least one person in your corner, no matter where you go or what you do. One person who will fight your battles with you, who will hold you when things get too overwhelming or when the loud noises are too much... One person who will love you unconditionally when the road is long and the journey seems unbearable.
I'm not perfect. There will be days I hit my breaking point and will feel I cannot handle much more. I might yell. There might be days you hear Mom crying. Just know it's not your fault, that sometimes Mom's get frustrated too.
We didn't choose this but we won't let it beat us.
I love you,