She's Autistic

That word. Its such a challenge for me yet I hear myself saying it again and again and it finally makes sense. The tantrums. The screaming. The fact that she wouldn't always look you in the eye. My daughter, this beautiful gift, named after her Angel Cousin is autistic.

Yesterday I met with Early Intervention. They come out of The Arc and when they arrive its like they are old friends I have known all along. Their warmth, its inviting. Their presence, its a gift and their support its unlike anything I have ever experienced.

The last month has been a whirlwind. The moment I decided I had to call I knew the answer, "she's autistic". I am floored at the support. I am most floored at the support from those who I don't know well. That friend I mentioned the other day, my neighbor who has been her "Fairy Godmother" since birth and of course that random woman that came to me in the store as I cradled her hoping her tantrum would be short lived.

I never imagined that I would have a child who was autistic. I never dreamed I would have a child with special needs but here I am. I am wearing that hat. I am holding that card and I am ready to go to all ends of the earth and back for our Seraphina MaryClare.

Tonight, my husband and I sat. We discussed her future but I wasn't able to completely share. I couldn't let him know that I am afraid to see my cousin's child. He's nearly the same age and typical. I am afraid watching his development will send me into a tailspin. I didn't let him know that I was afraid no one would ask her to prom or perhaps someone would but only to be the "story of the week" on the front page of the paper.

People keep saying how lucky she is to have me. Is she? Is she really lucky to have a mom who is up at night having nightmares that she cannot give her daughter what she needs? Is she really lucky to have a mom worried about how she will find a date to prom? How she will be taunted in sports or how she will make it in life, as an adult?

She's not LUCKY to have me. I am LUCKY to have her. You see, in the past few weeks she has taught me a few things.

1. I am not in control. HE is.
2. I say I have faith. Well, I better learn to step up and live in that faith.
3. Beauty is not just skin deep, it is with the creation that God made. In every creation.
4. The road we walk is not easy but its so much easier with friends.
5. There are good people.
6. There are people you have realized God put in your path. People you cry into their rain coats who joke they wore it to catch your tears.
7.There are strangers who stop you to tell you how your comforting your wailing toddler as onlookers gawk is a gift that they are witnessing.
8.There are friends that listen. There are friends that let you live in the moment and retell how each visitor had their own take on your child-even when it was the same story yesterday.
9. There are friends that stop by with gifts as you try to keep your cool when your husband is away.
10. There are friends that send gifts after researching Autism and how to help.
11. There are parents. They hurt. Almost as much as you do, trying to comfort you and reassure you that you are building a strong, independent, wonderful child.
12. There is beauty in each moment.

She IS autistic. She is the one with the disorder but through her, I am learning. I am learning each moment how much I am supported. I am learning each day how much I am blessed. I won't lie, there are moments I cannot seem to pick myself up. Not yet. There are moments when you would never know because I can pick myself up and fake it til I make it. She's autistic but her disability is stretching my ability to be a mom...better yet, to be a better person.


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