Today is the post that I read that led me to ask Andrea for permission to share Alex’s story here at Proven Path Ministries. If you follow this blog ministry you probably have realized I don’t have much of a “theme” here other than wanting to help people understand that no matter where you are in life… no matter how lost… no matter how hurt… no matter how confused… no matter age, gender, religious background, ethnicity, etc. The proven path is found on the one that is lit by the Light of the Word. There is hope in Him and a purpose for all things… we don’t have to understand the why to trust the WHO.
Now for Day 4…
Day 4 of Autism Awareness Month: A Parent’s Heartbreak
As I said on Day 3, Erik and I had figured out that Alex had Autism after seeing Jenny McCarthy on Oprah and after reading some related books. We made an appointment at Vanderbilt so we could get the official diagnosis. It was on October 29th, 2007. Alex was 3 1/2 years old.
I knew he had Autism, and I knew this was just going through the process so he could qualify for services in school, but when I heard the psychologist say, “Alex has Autism and Developmental Delay”, my heart was broken. We, as parents, have these dreams for our children – I think we always come up with the perfect scenario in our heads. I wanted my kids to first and foremost be healthy (poor Alex has had multiple blows in this department). I wanted them to do well in school, have lots of friends, play sports, go to college, meet that perfect mate (at about 30 years old), and live happily ever after and give me grandkids that I can enjoy while I am still senile (since we started a family so late – I was 34 when we adopted Alex).
When I heard those words, I felt like the dreams I had for Alex were shattered. I didn’t want him to be picked on by other kids because he was different. I didn’t want him to get frustrated because he didn’t understand society and because they didn’t understand him. I wanted to hear my son come up to me without me saying it first and tell me he loves me! I wanted him to desire cuddling with his mom – not push me away because he doesn’t have that desire and he doesn’t want me in his personal space. I wanted him to wave at me when he went to school or my parents’ house. I wanted him to actually miss me when he wasn’t around me!
So, yes, I was heartbroken. I still get sad and have bad days, but then I look at Alex and think, “life must be awesome through his eyes because he is always happy and things seem simple”. I often wonder what is going on inside his mind, but I will probably never really know. The “perfect” dreams I had in my head were shattered, but I realized life isn’t perfect. Life is what we make out of the situations (good or bad) that are thrown at us. I got out of the self-pity mode I was in and began researching diets, therapies, and anything else I could start doing to give Alex as great of a life as I could. To be continued…