It's a peaceful morning. Finn climbed into bed with me, snuggled up under the covers and told me the same thing he tells me every morning ... that he's hungry and ready to watch "cow" (his favorite little video about farms.) I get up, searching in the dark for my slippers ...it's cold now in the mornings. I get him settled on the couch, a warm quilt wrapped around his little diaper clad body... pour myself a cup of coffee, read some Scriptures to start my day. I light a candle and put on some soft music and begin cleaning the kitchen, hoping to accomplish a couple of things before my other three littles get up.
I check my e mail and see a message a friend has sent me ...wondering if I would be interested in this "new" study they are doing on autism...I read about this astounding "link" they are finding between mutated genes from some couple and if they have children with high functioning autism. This is nothing new, nothing I haven't read before ... but it makes me feel sad. Instant tears run down my face ... my peaceful morning colliding with my not so peaceful reality.
We have three sons. All of our boys are beautiful inside and out. All of our boys are bright and growing and blooming into wonderful people. All of our sons have high functioning autism.
I'm not sad that they are mine. I do not feel that they "lack" in any way. I love all of my boys more then words or songs or poems or anything could ever say.
But...when I read studies that want to "link" their condition to one cause, or I talk to doctors who callously tell me that environmental issues aren't to blame for this neurological condition, or that they are this way because of "genes" I feel guarded, I feel sad, I feel defensive...sometimes I feel angry....sometimes I feel smart and proud that I have more information than some "professionals." I guess, what it comes down to is that I see the heart of my children, I see the beauty and the creativity and the specialness that is them - I see more than mutated genes and I'm willing to go further then to just say "me and my husband obviously have genes that aren't compatible and we make babies with issues."
I love the quirkiness of my little guys, I love their individuality - but sometimes I grieve. Sometimes it is is early in the morning, in the quiet that I thank God for my blessings, but I also tell Him of my fears and my wants and my pain. Sometimes the hurt strikes unexpectedly when I look at other people's family photos, or when I sit in a restaurant and watch a child sitting at a nearby table, enjoying his meal, connecting with his parents in an obvious sort of way. Sometimes I hurt when I'm on a playdate and I see that my kids aren't like the other kids...sometimes it hurts when I'm in the middle of some long repetitive motion or communication that I have with one of my boys EVERY SINGLE DAY without fail. Sometimes it hurts unexpectedly...when I check an e mail, or watch a new documentary on our food, our air, the pharmaceutical industry. It hurts when I see two people walking, holding hands...and I wonder if my boys will be able to experience that kind of love and connection with another person. Sometimes, it's early in the morning with my lit pine scented candle and soft piano music and I feel peaceful...and I hurt peacefully. I know that my hurt doesn't change my love... change the status of my joy...it's just a moment of hurt.
I am a mother to three sons with autism - I rejoice in their differences, I grieve their differences...this is what is real and what is OKAY. Above all, I love ... I celebrate...and I give thanks for three blessings who are more than mutated genes.