Coming off the tails of a rough patch you may have read about last week, I now have to tell you “the rest of the story.”
To recap, Ben had a really difficult 10 minutes while we were waiting for lunch at a local Dairy Queen last Sunday. He struggled, we all worked really hard to get through it, and he pulled it together in time for us to enjoy our down time. However, in the midst of the autism storm, I overheard another patron say to her friend, “So much for a relaxing lunch,” as she disposed of her trash and went on her way. I chose not to confront her because it is precisely what I would have said if I had been having a conversation with my friend about something that had been bothering me, or if my lunch somehow wasn’t right, or really it could have been anything that she was talking about. However, my gut instinct told me she was referring to the volume and demeanor with which our son was expressing himself.
I wanted to clear the air that our son was not giving us a hard time, but rather he was having a hard time, but he needed me there with him to help him work through the issue at hand. I was working through my own emotions over the whole thing with my cousin later that afternoon, and things were still weighing pretty heavy on my heart when I heard Ben call me from the other room. I don’t remember now what he wanted or needed or why it was that I brought him back to the kitchen with me when we were done in the living room, but I will likely never forget that on our way to the kitchen, he looked me square in the eye, put his hands on my cheeks and said, “I’ll never give up, Mommy.”
Now, I honestly don’t know what brought that comment on, what he was thinking of or doing just before it, but I’ll take it as a great reminder that we are not in this alone. He is not alone and he will make it through every battle that autism wages. We are with him and we will stand with him. And even when it seems like we’re the only ones in the world who know what we’re feeling, we will never truly be alone. Our faith sustains us, our family and friends encourage us, the promise of hope for the future which is found in moments like this strengthen us for the journey ahead, and just like Ben, we will never give up.