“Don’t send me anymore links to feel good stories!” he vents. “They show autism in too positive of a light. Reality is the head banging, screaming, stinky, severe autism !” This Dad doesn’t expect any miracles despite therapy from A-Z. He looks over at the “Greener Side” at those fortunate parents of talking, potty trained autistic children, and says “You don’t know the dark side. I can’t even go out to my favorite pizza joint.”
His words slapped me with guilt. I am one of those “fortunate” ones standing on the Green side with a child only mildly autistic. I’m not drenched in therapy sessions. Money and time are the only roadblocks to our favorite pizza joint. Autism does not threaten to haunt my daily life.
I get teary over those feel good stories of ASD kids: the girl who sang the National Anthem- so inspirational, the student who scored the 15 pointer before the buzzer- thrilling.,-the entire crowd in a restaurant thinking nothing of a boy being a little disruptive – heart warming!
“God won’t give you what you cannot handle” some told this Dad. Those choice words – heart aching not warming. They sound more like a “Buck up and Deal with it”. Dealing with it could mean face torment each day, but make sure you at least get to eat, sleep, and bathe. Look at the other stuff in life as the luxuries reserved only for those “fortunate” ones.
For me, the “fortunate” one. There ARE a few brown spots and prickers. There are the meltdowns with screaming, banging, crying, and the question of how much longer weighs heavy. There is the school report card indicating “the below grade level” rating in many areas. Her lack of certain social graces will probably result in many a stare. There’s the future worry that while all the other “normal” people her age are getting married, or developing a career, I wonder if there’s anything past the front door of our house.
Perhaps, I’ve not sobered up to the fact that I don’t know the real hardcore hardships of autism. Perhaps we are raising Goldi in the honeymoon period. She’s safe, young, and surrounded with the supports and comforts of home and school. There could be a dead end not too far away.
There could be a dead end but then again…. I’ve seen rainbows.
Last summer I saw a double rainbow splash into a neighbor’s driveway and make its surroundings glow. We stood with dropped jaw.
“It can’t be.” said a neighbor.
“Never seen anything so close.” I said.
It wasn’t a rainbow we sought after. We didn’t have to chase it. It was literally at our fingertips. It was blink once then twice – real.
I’ve chased. waited, and wished for rainbows. And then, when I suspect one is about to appear, just because the rain and sun had done just the right dance, I am immersed in an awe filled surprise. Just like hope and just like our Goldi.
I never thought to hope after Goldi was diagnosed, only to cope and survive. The harsh words from an early speech path. screamed “She’ll have autism for the rest of her life” and shattered my hoping. But each time Goldi wipes the sleep from her eyes, and lights up ready to live life to the fullest, I am reminded to look for rainbows. Some as small as finally tasting a carrot. Some as big as initiating a conversation with clear concise language. Some as beautiful as her singing a prayer to her Creator. Some as exciting as her reading and belly laughing at Frog and Toad. I never hoped until Goldi reminded me to look for rainbows.
Golid, is the gift that God wanted us to handle … with care. In doing so there a rainbow of hope colorful and vibrant. Autism Daddy, you can live on the Green Side. Because of Love and with that – HOPE. Your child just like mine is a gift from God- to show you hope in small ways and big. It starts each day your son wipes the sleep from his eyes and begins to step forward to begin his day. There may not be heart warming miracle to share on youtube and there certainly isn’t a cure. But there’s hope as awesome as a rainbow because it comes from His Love. Start looking for rainbows Autism Daddy. It’s most likely right at your fingertips.
I have forgotten what happiness is, My endurance has perished and so has my hope from the Lord. Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall,My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me, But this I call to mind, and therefore, I have hope. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to and end. They are new every morning, great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:18-23