It has been five years! Five years since the day Trenton was diagnosed with autism. It was a very daunting day. I am sure if you have had anything significant and/or life changing happen in your life, you always remember the "anniversary" each year. Although I knew in my heart before the day he got the diagnosis, it is just something about that day. It's the day of the official "stamp" of autism. The day that you know for sure that your life is forever changed.
I sometimes can't believe I have made it these five years. On one hand it has gone really fast and on the other hand it seems like it has been fifty years.
Five years ago I was so scared, sad, full of guilt, nervous, sleep deprived, confused, yet I was immediately determined, driven, courageous, and ready to get the ball going on our new life and the new things that we had to do. I have many of the same feelings now, five years later, however, the person I am today is a much better person than I was five years ago.
If I could go back in time and tell myself a few things five years ago, I would say this......
" I know you are tired and scared. I wish I could tell you that it will get better but it doesn't exactly get better. A few things get better but with each improvement in one area normally brings about a new challenge in another area.
Your life is going to be hard. You will lose your old self but you will find a whole new, amazing person inside you that you didn't know was there.
You will find the most remarkable strength. It's the type of strength that you had no idea that you had. You will be the definition of perseverance. The kind of endurance that only certain people know about.
You will learn how to be a fighter and fight to the end. You will never give up. You will be up countless nights preparing for IEP meetings, preparing for insurance calls, and preparing for all different kinds of appeals that you will have to do in order to get your child the type of respect that he has a right to in the world.
You will be embarrassed by your child's meltdowns. You will be publically embarrassed and find yourself in some of the most unusual situations in public just trying to help your child and to give him a right to live in this world just like everyone else does.
You will be judged and hear the rudest comments from people.
Many won't understand you and they will judge your parenting skills simply because they don't understand your child's autism.
You will stand up for your child. You will put a few people in their place. You will be your child's voice and best advocate in this world!
You will find the most amazing therapist, teachers, and professionals that will go above and beyond to help your son and you will love them as if they are your family.
You will have days that you will do nothing but cry. You will feel lonely and isolated.
You live through the unimaginable.
Your marriage that has already fallen apart will be done for good shortly but it is a blessing in disguise because the man God wanted you with is going to enter your life in five years .
You will be left on your own. However, the man of your dreams will enter soon.
You will see the ugly of this world.
Yet, you will learn the most amazing type of love. A love that only certain people are blessed to know.
You will learn what it means to never take anything for granted.
You will laugh, smile, and cry all in the same minute.
You will have chills that run up and down your body when you witness a miracle from your child for the first time.
You will learn to know what it really means to live on faith, hope, and love.
You will go into battles and come out a winner!
Your relationship with family and friends will change-some for the better and some for the worse.
Your relationship with God will magnify to a whole new level.
You will understand what sacrifice really means and you will witness it from your loved ones.
You will see true kindness and generosity from others.
You will see and witness many things that you would have never understood unless God put you on this path in life.
You will go from asking God why to thanking him for your beautiful life and seeing the beauty in everything!
You will see your son go through gut wrenching moments that will shatter your heart in a million pieces. It won't be easy to watch as his mother. You will beg God to take it away and for you to be the one to have the challenges not him.
You will experience some of the smallest steps of progress. However, they are huge steps for you and your son. They are miracles! They are simply amazing!
Special needs (autism) is one of the most beautiful journeys. It is a journey of the beautiful innocence of the world. I am very honored to live this life and to be a part of this very, unique journey ever day. Even though our days are hard and they always will be, I choose to make the most of it. There is nothing I can do other than that! God blessed me with this life and I will do my best to live it like He would want me to and not waste it.
On the way home from St. Louis the day he got the diagnosis, I let him have one more ice cream cone before he went back on his strict diet.
Here is a blog post from the day of Trenton's diagnosis.