This post is by Chrissy Kelly who blogs at http://www.lifewithgreyson.blogspot.com. She is a a Mom and wife, a writer, a picture taker, and a World changer. She is brave, honest and never ever gives up. She's often scared, but has realized that you have to be scared to be brave. She loves so big that it sometimes hurts. She loves anyway though because she believes some of the most beautiful of things are born from pain. She wants you to realize that life can still be amazing despite circumstances that may not be ideal.
I sat there in silence, not ready to speak any words out loud. I was hoping it was just a speech delay. I wasn’t ready to call it anything else. Certainly not the a-word for fear it might come true. And everyone in the room took turns competing over who had the hardest life. Who had the worst insurance. Who had to pay more out of pocket. Who did more therapies and treatments. That's a competition that doesn't have a winner.
Dollars, biomedical doctor, gluten/dairy/soy free diet, applied behavior analysis, speech, occupational therapy. I knew I needed it all. I needed to do everything available all at once to beat the potential of autism out of my first-born son, Greyson who was only 24 months old at the time. And I left that Autism support meeting broken. I got into my car and hugged my steering wheel crying until I could barely see. And I went home and I prayed and I Googled. Please, tell me that Greyson will be okay, and that I will be okay. Please tell me that some day I will laugh again.
And one day I knew there was no going back. Almost two years ago we knew for certain what it was called. It was autism. And in the past two years we have also realized that Greyson’s two-year old brother Parker, also has autism. What a remarkable, eye-opening, painful and amazing two years it has been.
It's funny, the stuff that some people wanted to make sure I knew when I entered into the World of Special Needs. It's such a scary snapshot of time in your life. I craved positive or hope in a way that would have sustained me more than oxygen, but I heard the same sentences time and time again. Sometimes from Spectrum Parents, some from industry professionals, and some from other random people.
I heard having a special needs child is a struggle on your marriage and very difficult on siblings. I was told that God gave me this story because I could handle it, and that I would be the only one that would advocate for my child. I was told that people with typical children wouldn't understand and take their easy children for granted. I was told that the world is ignorant about autism and that no one cares or understands.
Maybe some of that can be true-some of the time, but if I'm standing at the Pearly Gates welcoming new parents into Spectrumville- instead of punching them in the face...I'm gonna give 'em a hug.
Life will teach them the hard stuff, I’m gonna talk about the rest. I'm gonna tell them that life is what you make it. I'm going to tell them their other children are going to love and protect their sibling like no other love you've ever witnessed in your life. I’m going to tell them that the time I’ve spent watching my boys in speech therapy is often the highlight of my week. I’m going to tell them that along the way I’ve connected with some of the most dedicated and amazing professionals that have advocated on behalf of my sons right along side with me. This journey has reinforced my belief that people are not ignorant. People are good and willing to learn and to help.
Yes, milestones come along less frequently, but when they do-- it feels like magic and unicorns and Christmas and Holy Cow and York Peppermint patties and your first kiss and true love and finding a $20 bill on the ground and loosing 5 lbs without even trying. Yeah, it's that good. I’m not in Holland or in Italy, but this is my Life and I love it.
I think hope for a cure is important. I think the topics of vaccines, biomedical doctors, diets, therapies and treatment plans are all very important. But most often I see these topics separating and building a wall amongst the very groups that should be standing in unity.
And after I mourned the typical Greyson that never existed in the first place, I realized it was up to me to write our family’s life, and I was going to make it a good one. I write a blog about living life on the spectrum with my beautiful boys, Greyson and Parker. Instead of mourning the life I expected, I’ve decided to love the life I’ve been given. Our life contains autism- which we prefer to call Super Powers. Our life is happy. We have moments of difficult and hard and sad and scary and angry, but they are only moments, they are not forevers.
I can't change the fact that my sons have autism, but I can change the world. I've got a fire in my soul to share awareness about autism. The more people know, the better life will be for my sons and for everyone who is different and struggles to be accepted.
If you have just started on a journey with autism, I know you are scared. You are not alone. You are also brave and so strong. You will surprise yourself. And I want you to know I laugh all the time now. Just the other night I laughed until my stomach muscles were screaming and tears were running down my face. We are happy. I promise you, you will find your laugh again too.