1 826.21099 days

5 years. That's how long it has been since my family was reborn as an Autism Family.  No fanfare, no balloons, and no cake. Just tears, sadness and an overwhelming emptiness over a diagnosis that stole my son.

Of course, since that day, those feelings have subsided a bit although it has not altogether gone away. You see, it will always be there. A dark cloud that peeks out just when you think you have yourself together. Then it rears its ugly head like a dim reminder that no, you are not allowed to live your life and forget your job. You will always have this challenge of raising an autism child, or in my case two, for the rest of their lives.

In these past 5 years, I have learned to deal with the loneliness of having to be this warrior mom that swoops in whenever there's an issue at school or at home with the kids' learning abilities. But it gets tiring, repetitious and tedious. It's not a burden but it can be exhausting always having to look over your shoulder or hear some asinine comment from someone that thinks, "I know autism!" Um, yeah. No you don't. Move along.

Those are my favorite people. Ignorant for the sheer pleasure of being ignorant. Or maybe they enjoy being mean and watching a person squirm once you figure out a weakness from someone that doesn't like to show vulnerability.

But enough about me...

Daniel James.

DJ.

He is perfect.

I love his smile and his sly ability of getting his way. He mesmerizes you with his eyes and sweet grin. He's not too demanding and is always very loving to anyone that crosses his path. He is everything that I could have ever wished for when it came to having a son.  More than that, he's a beautiful soul.

But autism is here and it's not going anywhere.

Autism has taken his ability to speak, to function as a soon to be 7 year old, to make friends with his peers. Cognitively, he's about 18 months. His verbal skills, a 6 month old.

His being...so much more.

It was he that taught me to be compassionate, brave, and fearless. You always look back in your past and think of someone who has defined you, created you, is responsible for your growth.

But the person who did that for me was the child I birthed.


His journey, his fight to exist, that's what made me. I am this "me" because of him.  I don't even know that person I was 5 years ago.  

The dark cloud that stole my son became this unexplainable energy that transformed my entire life. I was a tough nut to crack before, but I was still able to be broken. Now, you can't. You can't break me. You won't break me. He's not going to let it happen.  

And on days when I feel like I'm about to fall on my knees from exhaustion, he comes to me with some type of affection that says, "Mom, I am here. For you..."

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