Many Hats Mommy

Finding Grace & Choosing Gratitude

Share Your Strength

16 Comments

Yup. The holiday season is here. Autism parents, rejoice! When most people look at the picture below, they have warm, fuzzy feelings. When we autism parents look at this picture, we think, “HA! A centerpiece on my table? Yeah, right. My child would dismantle that in ten seconds flat. Pumpkin pie? I’ll be lucky if she eats her traditional peanut butter and jelly sandwich. No way are you getting that texture past her lips!”, or whatever else comes to mind…

However, we do have things to be thankful for. I was mulling over some recent destruction in our home the other night, trying to come up with ways to avoid it in the future, and I remembered a discussion on our local support group’s Facebook page. Someone asked,

“How has autism made you better?”

Did you hear that record skip and slide? Birds or crickets chirping? Silence?

I’m sure it took each of the SM2 moms who replied a few minutes to think of something, but we all know deep down that autism has made us stronger or better in some form or other. I’d like you to take a few moments with me and consider this topic. Would you join me and leave a comment, participate in the conversation? I’ll start.

I would say I was a wall flower growing up. I was a decent leader, but I didn’t go out of my way to talk to people or socialize in a crowd. Now I am not afraid (ok, sometimes it’s less afraid) to speak up for my son, or another child who needs it. I have helped start a support group because there was nothing in our area, and I got the gumption to ask for the chance to host a special needs story time at our local library. That is not to brag–it’s to show a new strength God has given me.

I also have a different perspective now. Yup. I was one of those women who wondered why That Lady (like those capitals, Bobbi?) couldn’t control her kid in the store. HA HA! Now I know why some of them couldn’t. I see with different eyes now. I understand another’s viewpoint just a bit more.

So, how about you? How has autism made you stronger or better?

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16 thoughts on “Share Your Strength

  1. Wow – great post! I agree, it’s made me a much stronger person. It’s made me more patient, more compassionate and much more aware of the people around me.

  2. So many responses here! It’s made me harder, in a good way, like I can survive anything now. It’s made my faith stronger, because I can’t do this, but God sure can. It’s made me thinner, because kicking out the glutens, the caseins and the factory food means I eat healthy. It’s made me an advocate, because you WILL accept my child and include her. It’s made me a LOT more compassionate towards parents with kids who are a handful out in public. It’s taught me to think outside any kind of box you can throw at me. It’s made me a better wife, because we BOTH need to be there for our kids. I could probably go on for a page, lol!

  3. I absolutely believe that autism has not only made me stronger but has changed the course of my life now. You talked about perspectives and I wholeheartedly agree. I know that nothing is more important than my son. I have a job I’m great at, I worked really hard for, and is actually pretty important. I don’t care anymore. As soon as we are able financially, I will work less and spend every moment I can with my little man. And then I vow to make a difference in this autism community. That is my life’s work now. I think I was a pretty decent human being before. But has my son made me better? No doubt in my mind. :-)

  4. I have learned that I am capable of more patience than I ever thought possible.
    I am much more likely to extend grace to someone who I might previously have self-righteously judged, particularly in regards to my perception of their parenting skills.
    I have learned to not be afraid of people who are Different.

  5. Autism has made me stronger because now I trust my instincts, I learned that Dr’s do not know my child as much as I do and not to take them at their word anymore, always research on your own if something doesn’t feel right and you are in charge not the Dr, you can fire them! I stand up for my child and his needs now with no shame and I do not let what people think of me effect getting what he needs. Autism has made me a better parent, I pay attention to the little things now, I see the small changes and inchstones and count every blessing and joy that comes our way.

    • I love that term “inchstones” ! :) It is an awesome thing when we finally understand what you’re saying–we know our children better than “experts” and we should trust our instincts.

  6. Having a child with an Asperger diagnosis has forced me (a happy, content-in-my-own-world type A personality) to live and think outside the box. Our pediatrician assured us that our guy will never – ever – fit into my box and so I needed to move outside the box. (Scary stuff for someone like me!) That is, by far, the best advice I’ve ever had, regarding how to work with my own son. It’s now completely acceptable if he wears shorts in winter and heavy fleece pants in summer, despite whatever other people tell me. It’s ok with me if he walks around with clothes that don’t match because, hey, he got dressed! When I began to see how well he’s responding to my more laid back approach to him, I was sad that I hadn’t approached life with him in that way before, BUT, I was glad to see that this was, indeed, what he needed. It’s still SO hard for me to step over and outside the box, but SO fulfilling!

    • I am smiling, Becky, because we have similar clothing issues here. Backwards is the preference. We have made the rule that backwards is ok at home and at close friends and family, but out places we try to remember to get clothes on correctly to help him “fit in” better in a small way.

  7. There are so many ways having a son with autism has made me a better person. It made me a better parent – for my older two sons. I have more patience, I appreciate little victories, I can take the time to smell the roses, I notice details I would have missed before, I have a new career with purpose, I worry less about what other people think, my marriage is stronger, I am a better public speaker, I can ask for help when I need it, and on and on and on. I wouldn’t change my son for the world (although I would remove the barriers to his learning if I could).

  8. Great idea and great conversation!

    To embrace differences. To be playful. To live in the now. To connect every single time. To be a richer, whole, grounded, deeper, better person. I wouldn’t trade my life for nothin’.

    • Hey, Mama Be Good, thanks for joining in! I think this is a great list, and it seems to be one a lot of parents would agree with. I am glad that in all of the mess autism brings, we can find ways to look for the good. ;) That’s important for our endurance.

  9. Pingback: My Other Life before Autism | Many Hats Mommy

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