Friday, September 24, 2010

Meet Autism.....

I was introduced formally to you when he was two and half, but you came into his life the day he was born. I had heard of you through my nursing studies, and seen you portrayed in movies and television shows, but never considered that I would ever meet or know you the way I have come to know you today. Your presence is discreet at times, but when you feel overwhelmed you make your presence known. Those are the times I am embarrassed to admit I know you, or call you part of the family. I prayed for you and held onto hope and faith you would one day call me “mom” or say” I love you”. Your mind is truly a work of extraordinary means. Your emotions are as unpredictable as the sea, but yet as simple as a sunrise. I am so honored to have been introduced to you. The world knows and labels you as Autism. I know you as my son, Trey.
He was born a month before his original due date. His beautiful jet black hair, olive skin, nose like a button, fingers and toes, were more perfect than I could have imagined they would be. His eyes were big, round, baby blue eyes; they were what I noticed last, but not least. If I had known in that moment that would be one of the few times you would look at me, eye to eye, I would have captured that moment and engraved it in my thoughts. For you Autism, took away that eye contact and kept it to yourself, sharing it only when you are comfortable in your world.
My journey and challenge began at that very moment. I watched you hit milestones, achieve skills, but never heard you say hello. I saw you stack cans so strategically, line your trains in a perfect row, be mesmerized by the turning ceiling fan, but never felt the embrace of your arms around me. I was sad, sad that you Autism had taken that from me without thinking about how much I would miss that, and cry when you took away the excitement and fun of birthday parties that are the joy of childhood, because the sights and sounds caused you to tantrum.
So, unlike a diagnosis of cancer, a terminal illness, or a chronic disease that can affect a young life no one calls to say they are sorry, bring food, or offer to take shifts so I can rest. Instead, you Autism scare them away. How do you expect us to introduce you if you scare them away or make them feel uncomfortable with your awkward noises, repetitive actions, or obsessive thoughts?
Autism, I will not let you take my son Trey without a fight. I am a mother who is not afraid of your consistent routines and schedules. I am no longer sad that you can’t express your love by touch, words or eye contact, for you Trey have more love and compassion than all of us because your world sees no hate or ill will towards others. Autism has made you that way. Autism is a part of my family, but to us his name Trey. Trey, you are a true superhero. You have powers, knowledge and abilities that only certain people have, for not all of us were blessed to have those areas of our brain unlocked. I will continue to be a mother warrior for you Trey, promoting awareness and acceptance, and as for you Autism…you can come along for the ride.


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