Day 16 of why I’m thankful for autism…I had a plan for today, to write about simplicity. But today is our boy’s birthday, and really nothing about autism is simple, except loving him. And truly, nothing could be more simple. That boy has my heart on a string. He absolutely melts me. His smile, the sparkle in his eyes, the laughter – my word, the belly-busting laughter, his hugs, his kisses…I’m tearing up just thinking about all the simple things I absolutely love about him. Perhaps simplicity should be the word for the day.
But mostly, I’m just so thankful for him. And he wouldn’t be him without autism. That has taken me a long time to accept and even longer to verbalize because part of me still wonders if there will ever be a cure for autism. One of his siblings has a way of asking thought-provoking questions at bedtime. One topic surfaces from time to time. The question may be worded differently, but it always boils down to this: “Mom, if there were a way to take autism away from Ben, would you do it?”
The first time I was asked this, the answer was an exasperated, “YES!!!” That was shortly after his diagnosis, maybe even that very day. I feel like we’ve all grown so much since that day 18 months and 6 days ago. (Yes, really, it was that big of a deal.) Now, my answer may possibly depend on the day and how much we have struggled. Some may call me crazy, but it’s not a clear-cut answer any more. I’m not sure we would even know him without autism, and that’s okay. Not because I love to see our son struggle, not in the least, but because he is who he is, who God created him to be. He is happy and healthy, learning and growing every single day. I have accepted who he is, and I absolutely adore him. That saying about there being a little boy who stole my heart and he happens to be my son…yea, that. And I’m so lucky, it’s happened three times over, not to mention the way our two daughters have done the same. Yes, I’m a blessed mommy indeed. Add to that the love and friendship of the most perfectly suited for me husband I could have ever dreamed of and there just isn’t a better family I could imagine for me or for our Ben. We are Team Janssen. We never dreamed autism would be one of our players, but here we are. And I have to say, it’s a pretty amazing season we’re in.