I feel inclined to write. It’s hard for me, and the reasons are layered. However, I have been so inspired by reading the voices of others like me. Moms and Dads who are on journeys like mine, who have been where I’m going, and who penned words that lift me up.
I didn’t want to tell anyone about Jake’s autism. I didn’t want anyone who didn’t know him well, personally, to know that first. Because he’s a person first. He’s complicated. Autism isn’t how I know him. Or at least, it wasn’t. I knew him only as my baby. Only he isn’t. He’s grown up so fast and so much. Being five and going to kindergarten is not only not a baby anymore, it’s the best thing in the world.
You see, it’s complicated.
More and more, however, I am learning to know him better, and I am learning that he is autistic, and that is a huge part of him. Whether it is labelled or not, it is how I know him, how I treat him, and how others interpret him. I am also learning about autism education. Not his education as an autistic student, but my education about autism. I am learning so much. And I feel quite convicted to share some of this with you. It’s a kind of autism awareness, I guess, only those terms are confusing and bothersome to me.
Even that is complicated.
It turns out a lot about autism is complicated. The individuals themselves, the community surrounding them, the treatments, the diagnosis process, the causes. I have learned so much already. And my curiosity is piqued. My brain is wired for curiosity. I love science. I love discovery. I love learning. This is what I am called to, this is my gift. One of my gifts. It turns out I have many. Other gifts God has showered upon me include my incredible children, Jake, Aiden, and Penny. I am called to use my gifts.
I have heard God’s call clearly on my life twice. The first time He called me to teach at a local Christian school. I decided I would teach there, become a teacher/mom until I had a calling to do something else. This was inspired by a story a friend told me about Mother Teresa.
Someone interviewing Mother Teresa asked her about hearing God. She answered that she had heard God only once, clearly, in her life. He called her to work with the desolate in India. So she did. And continued to, whether she heard Him clearly like that again or not. And as it turned out, she did not hear Him again like that, ever. She said that she would continue to do what He called her to do until He called her to do something else.
What a beautiful story. And now I have heard a new calling. Autism Mama. So here I go.