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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Letters To Garrett : A Mother's Letter of Acceptance to Her Autistic Son




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 Garrett

My Dear Son,

As I write this, you are currently playing next to me.. From time to time, you look up at me and
attempt to say "hi" or make some occasional noise that makes no sense to anyone but yourself, but that's okay. I can tell that you are just happy being beside me and I enjoy it as well.

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.

I'm starting this blog for you to know how things were when you were young.. To start documenting what you go through since your diagnosis, some of the crazy things you do, some of the things that have me pulling my hair out and will explain why mom went grey in her 30's.. Maybe one day, when you are older, you can read it and have a laugh and when you graduate you can thank mom for putting up with your craziness. But more than anything, I want you to be able to look back on this and know that Mom loved you so very much.

Right now, you are climbing on the couch next to me, smiling that huge smile that I love, laughing
like you haven't a care in the world. A few moments ago, you reached out and held my hand for a few moments. I think you are starting to tucker out though...you're laying on the back of the couch getting quiet.. Almost time for a nap, though I am sure you will disagree with me.

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.

And then I watch you, playing on the floor with your blocks.. making such intricate patterns and I wonder what really goes through that mind of yours... You see patterns in everything...the coke cans in the recycle bag (which you have gone and spread all over the floor on numerous occasions), the DVD cases which can almost never seem to stay on the shelf but instead make roads all over the living room floor..If the edges can be put side to side, you are finding some way to lay them out in various patterns. I'd like to see the world, as you do, just to understand how one as little as you can see the patterns in everything.


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,
Mom

6 comments:

  1. This beautiful, Brenda. I'm crying as I read. Because isn't this just a wonderful picture of mother love. No matter what labels our kids have or what they do or how they act sometimes, we love them for who they are. :-)

    Thank you for sharing this.

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    1. Leah, thank you for stopping by.. And you are so correct, mother love is loving them for who they are, ALL of who they are.. Children are a blessing.

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  2. Thank you for that Brenda. As I was reading this I was thinking of my Joshua who was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome. I love your last line. We didn't choose this but we won't let it beat us! That is our motto as well. Thank you again!

    Tim @ Families Again

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    Replies
    1. Tim, Thank you so much for stopping by. I find that many of us with Autistic Spectrum kiddos can spot similarities between our own children and those of other ASD children. Maybe we just recognize how special they are and can truly appreciate them for who they are. Although, I admit, you have much more experience with it then I do at this point :)

      Blessings :)

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  3. good letter. You have much love for your child. :)

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    Replies
    1. Annette, thank you so much for stopping by.. God gives us these little people to love and to cherish the way he designed them and each one is so special in their own way.. You can't help but love them :)

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