April and Autism Awareness

It’s been some years since I started blogging during the month of April about autism. In the beginning it was really easy sharing about the early years of our journey but as Sam has gotten older it has been more difficult for a variety of reasons.

The first being a desire to protect Sam’s dignity. He may have autism but he is still a typical teenage boy and he doesn’t enjoy having his business out on the street so to speak. When he was little he was unaware of the telling of the amusing stories and when he was aware he was unaware of any need to be embarrassed. That unawareness has given way to a more mature self awareness that in the long run is a good thing and a milestone of growth. (One that thankfully has not shown up in his dancing I am happy to say. He is still blissfully unaware that he dances like a six foot skinny all elbows and knees white boy and that makes me happy. Not because I relish him looking like a fool, because somehow he doesn’t, instead his pure enjoyment in music and movement and the freedom to enjoy both fully is just plain fun to see and somewhat contagious and almost a dare to let go and enjoy something so completely as to forget ones self.)
The second reason it is harder to blog about it now is because he is older and that means that autism itself is older and different. The challenges we faced when he was little seemed so big and difficult then and yet, just as in parenting in general, those now seem to be small and lacking in the complexity we face with a teenage boy smack in the middle of puberty.
I used to wonder why I couldn’t find much out  there about autism and teenagers/adulthood. But now I get it. Or at least I think I do.
It’s not pretty or romantic.
I realize those are the last two words that you hear in conjunction with autism but bear with me a second.

The best way I can explain what I mean is to point to something else and say “That’s what I’m talking about” knowing full well that those kinds of statements usually fall apart rather quickly if looked at too closely. So don’t try to look too far into this but take it at face value, ok?

The beginning of  a marriage carries a certain essence to it…the honeymoon phase if you will. But after a while things settle into a more natural frequency. It should still be beautiful and romantic but the definition of those things changes to include the reality of life with another person. The reality of dirty socks, chores, bills, and day to day sin.

Life with autism is the same in the sense that what we lived with and experienced with Sam when he was little is different than what we live with and experience with him now. The reality of autism, of having a son with autism, is broader and heavier.

But that doesn’t mean it is without beauty. Just as the depth of love experienced by the couple who has been married for twenty five years is far richer and more rewarding than the couple who has been married for twenty-five days so is life with a sixteen year old autistic young man as opposed to that sweet chubby faced toddler.

Harder to describe and share about but it is definitely more mature, more robust. The struggles and battles are at times heavier but I still wouldn’t have him any other way. Autism is still a gift. He is still a gift.

In case you missed it on Facebook here is a video of Sam dancing in all of his white boy glory.

2 thoughts on “April and Autism Awareness

  1. I have followed and kept all your posts about Sam as so often you have found ways of describing things so well, and your sharing has been of great value to me.My Spectrum son is now 42 and has a doctorate, but has never worked and I am getting old… I long for him to find a safe community within which he can function well and be happy.It is good to encourage one another on this journey.I hope Sam will find his happy place in the years to come and find something he is incredibly gifted at that will bring joy to him and to you, his family.Kindest regards, Mary in New Zealand.


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