Today is a BIG, enormous, off-the-charts, colossal, overwhelmingly emotional day for me. It has to do with my health, but it is more about being the mom of a special needs child. Today, something miraculous happened–My AUTISTIC son drove his car to high school by himself. My emotions are riding waves of joy. My eyes keep filling with tears. It is always hard on moms watching their little birdies fly the nest, but this little birdie was never supposed to fly–ever.
Collin was diagnosed “more autistic than the average autistic child.” When they shared this information with me, they kept waiting for me to pass out. I kept asking, “So what next?” They kept repeating that statement to me as if I had not heard them. I kept repeating my question. The last time I said I understand, now tell me what I can do to help my child. At that time, about 14 years ago, even the docs didn’t have much information that was overly helpful for parents–they suggested institutions. Institutions were outside my budget: we were a family of 6 living off 50,000 a year; there was no money in our budget for institutions. Our insurance didn’t cover stuff like that. I fell flat on my face and prayed with everything in me for help.
For those of you who are not Christian or spiritual, indulge me today–and forgive me if I offend you with my faith. I love you just as you are, but I prayed with every fiber of my being, because no one offered me hope. I prayed and I cried out to God with everything in me–day after day. If you have an image of a woman lying prostrate on the floor with her arms stretched out above her head as if she could dive from a prone position — you have the correct visual. My heart was broken, and my hope was crashing about me as if it were a mirror breaking upon a hard fall. My heart was shattered. My health was failing, I had become obese (not my maximum [that followed shortly] but I was 200 pounds). I lived in constant fear that my poor sweet screaming child would be left on this earth with no one to care for him when I passed away. That he would be put in a state institution when we were gone.
People often ask us how we did the things we have done with Collin. They ask us how we endured. We all had the fear in our minds that Collin would outlive us all, and he would be put into an institution when we could no longer care for him. It kept us focused when Mom got an idea to try, while Collin screamed for hours everyday for however long it took him to learn this new behavior. We all ate like robots at the table while we trained him to eat new foods, and he screamed every evening for our entire meal and maybe hours after–this went on for years–yet we all pushed forward.
You have to understand: he didn’t talk until he was five. He didn’t potty train until just before that age. Life for our baby looked bleak and lonely–yet we pressed forward. How did we press forward? Our Faith in our creator–the soft gentle voice that I heard in my heart gave me ideas that are now used by many professionals to help autistic children learn to function. Collin is our little miracle. Yes, we paid a hefty price for our miracle, but we are beyond happy with the results of the price. All parents will pay what ever price is required for the life of their children. Collin is blessed to have siblings that were willing as well.
Today was a day that was NEVER supposed to happen–yet it did. My health means so many things to me. Being here to see this moment. Honestly, my family lived in fear that I would not make it much longer. I had blood pressure so high that it was in the stroke zone and uncontrolled diabetes just 7 years ago. I started taking back my health at that time–thankfully–I have made it to a place where I am not living in fear of dying suddenly on my family. I have lived to a day to see my baby drive his car (this was never even a consideration–not even a hope) to school.
God gave my husband a word for our family, and he has spoken it over us for about 11 years. “If you are faithful and persistent and do not give up, I will bless you and give you what you ask and more.” I have to say this has come true in our lives where Collin is concerned. I never dreamed he would drive a car and plan for College. I just hoped he would be able to sort of live on his own and maybe work at a junk job like some special kids get to do. I NEVER dreamed he would be so smart that he will probably become a PHD or something cool like that. I never dreamed he would drive a car. I never dreamed he would be in regular school–actually above grade level in his intelligence. I am such a blessed woman, that I cannot help but cry.
Yes, life has been terribly hard at times and awfully unfair, but it just doesn’t seem to matter at this moment. I am sure most mothers understand. Giving birth to a child is horribly painful for most of us, but once we hold that beautiful crying baby in our arms everything else fades in importance. It becomes a memory or the price we paid for the joy that we are now experiencing–OH so worth the price we paid. Yes, tears are running down my face as I type this post. They are tears of joy and wonder.
Driving a car–something we take for granted–has become a moment of tremendous accomplishment and joy so wondrous I can hardly express what is in my heart. My little broken birdie is going to fly. They said he could not, that he would not, but he is and will. Everything I asked for and more …. yes this is so much more than I ever dared hope for … God help me I can’t type for crying.
No food ever tasted as good as the joy of living my life to the fullest.
I will come back later and check for the boo boo’s I know are here … blessings (yes, when I type that and think of you I am thinking of all you dreamed of and more for your life) … S