There are several of you who have told me how amazed you are that we put out our ugliest, hardest moments along with our best. Never in a bad way, just always a little surprised that we (and yes, that's WE... if Eric ever said enough, that would stand) almost advertise what life around here is like. Eventually, most of you wonderful folks who take time to read this message in a bottle completely understand... or at least partly.
It's a message in a bottle.
It's a call out from a worn-out heart who, at one time recently, wondered if anyone anywhere would get it other than our closest friends and family. Or even try. Or even care to try. It's for all of you who are on this gut-churning roller coaster called life with a child with autism. It's for all of you who know that part of that is the amazing highs from the simplest things to the lowest of lows, almost in an instant. It's for the mama who shuts the windows and the doors in an attempt to shut out the hurt.
The lack of acceptance.
It's for all you daddies and mamas who just don't know if you will ever have a new friend again (you will).
It's for all of you frustrated with the level or care you're able to provide.
It's for you who just got the diagnosis... or hint of a diagnosis... and are googling your sweet, broken heart out in a desperate attempt to grasp ahold of some understanding. Be encouraged... that ugly label is actually a ticket to better understanding of your child.
It's to hold out a hand.
The same understanding I searched frantically for every day last year, when Ryan hit that magic age of five. Everything changed, no one understood. Even those who were nice mostly just didn't want to help us face it. But just making us feel better doesn't help, does it. The attempts are appreciated, but we're still left with that burning in our chest that says no, it's not okay. I have to work every day to make it okay. If I don't keep working on this and improving my understanding then what will become of him?
It's also because I need to share our story. I need to make sense of some things. Which is what brings me to this... writing is cathartic.
I kinda need it.
So many of you out there have great stories. Amazing folks with amazing kids who maybe don't have autism, but something else challenging. Medically, emotionally, physically, mentally... the list goes on. Share your story.
It may seem simple, but it's important. The more people share, the less alone we feel. The more people share, the more people read, and the more awareness we raise.
Because this isn't just about a kid with autism and his family. It's about caring, loving, and empathy. It's about kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. It's about love, peace, and patience. It's definitely about faith. God made these kids with a purpose. But don't forget... he made you with a purpose, too.
Whether you come here for empathy and understanding or for a peek into our world, you have a purpose. You are here for a reason, and you can change something. The way you look at something, the way you deal with one thing today. A smile can really make a difference. An ear can make an even bigger one.
Whatever you came to this site for, whatever lead you here, I thank God for you... and I urge you to share your story.
And now I'm going to attempt to be on time for Ryan's therapy.