Yesterday was my son Charlie’s 14th birthday. A flood of emotions of all different kinds come on this day every year.
Wow he has come so far. I am so proud of him. He has worked so hard to get to where he is at. I keep telling myself he’s going to be ok.
I am afraid of the future. We have so much more work to do. I feel overwhelmed at times. Will he have to live with us after he graduates high school? Will he make real friends that understand him? Will I be able to be patient enough and endure the hard work ahead still?
The last year or so I have thought about Charlie’s future more than in the past. He has a ways to go until he turns 18, but yet it will be here before I know it. We took Charlie to the Daytona Speedway Tours. Nascar is one of his favorite things, at least right now. He loves to hear the engines roar and the rumble in the crowd he says. He knows about all the races and who won what pretty much. We enjoyed the tour but as the day went on and all the topics over and over again were about racing, the finish line, the start line… it made me think of where I am today, where I was, and where we are going in this journey of autism.
Where are we today?
-We are going through the throughs of puberty and emotional changes (Pray for me).
-We are challenged with the academic rigor of his school (Pray for us).
-We are working on social skills, meeting friends appropriately (Pray for Charlie).
-Charlie doesn’t hardly need his headphones to block out sound anymore (Thank you Lord).
Where were we?
-Charlie had tantrums quite a bit (hitting himself, throwing things, hiding under furniture, screaming, chewing his shirts so hard they were soaked and had holes in them) daily!
-Charlie didn’t really verbally talk in sentences till age 4, few words around 3.
-He used to wake up slamming doors in the middle of the night: same time every night, same amount of doors.
-Charlie used to only eat McDonald’s chicken nuggets, Cheeze-its, and Tostitos for his diet.
Where are we going?
-We see lots of hope.
-If someone would have asked me (which I am sure they did) 5 years ago or even 2-3 years ago, if I felt Charlie would be independent when he finishes school I would have said it didn’t look so good. As the years progressed he has shown me so much strength and tenacity. It is tough, but he continues to fight through. It is hard. Lately I have felt discouraged, but that is just Satan trying to make me believe his lies. You don’t believe them either. God has so many plans for our kids. It may not look “normal” as the world says is “normal”, but it is our normal.
-We are reaching for our goal and not stopping. Don’t listen to those who say: “he can’t”, “he never will”, “there is no way that will ever happen.” I have seen my son, as well as other kids make goals all the time that we thought would be unreachable. God has NO limits.
God says “I will never leave you nor forsake you”.
He is with us and our kids everyday.
Let Him guide you and direct you in your journeys too.
I used to think this autism thing was a race. When he was first diagnosed just before 3, the first thought was: I got to get him up to speed before 5 years old. I was on a mission to get all that I could in before the magic number 5. Well it came and went and I didn’t see the things that he should be doing by then. God has spoken to my heart over the years and He has told me, “Patty life is a journey, not a race”. In the tough times I rely on Him and in the “easy” times I rely on Him. He is really working on me to always give it ALL to Him, not just what I want to release, but everything!
When you start feeling like you are sprinting or racing, take a breath and let Him take over. Give him everything. He wants us to come to Him in prayer and cry out to Him.
Let Him take it all.
If you really do, the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your heart and mind. Enjoy the journey and see how God can change you and give you peace.