Monday, March 19, 2012

Inside Our World

When I started this blog before Christmas, I had no idea what I  was getting myself into.  I thought that I would just sit down and put my thoughts about Autism into words, and maybe a few people might read it, maybe a few people might enjoy learning a little more about how Autism plays itself out day to day.  After all, you can read about Autism in the paper, see it on TV, you might know someone who has it, but to actually live it is a different story.  I had no idea how many people would actually read my blog, and reach out to me and tell me what it has meant to them.  It has been a very humbling experience, to say the least.  I have had a few speed bumps along the way, of course.  Some people have thought that I was lecturing them, or calling them out on their perceived wrongdoings, but hopefully I have cleared up any misconceptions about my intentions for my writings.

I never thought that there would ever be a silver lining to this very complicated diagnosis.  I never imagined that I would gain so much, or grow so much, or learn so much from my daughter having Autism.  I never knew that blogging about my experiences would connect me to other people in such a deep way.  I have heard from old high school classmates, far away relatives, and "friends of friends" that all don't know me personally, or at least don't know me well, but still feel like they have a better understanding of our world because of the stories that I have written.  I am not a professional author or journalist by trade.  I did have a children's book on Autism published (that I have yet to break even on), but I am just a simple mom.  I write about the simple tragedies and triumphs and tribulations that Katie encounters. I am honest and I am blunt, but I am very aware of the fact that other people are reading this, so I try to censor a bit of what I say.  I try not to be bold or brass or cynical or egotistical, but sometimes when I read what I have written, I stop and question myself.  "Does that sound like I am too proud of myself, does that sound like I am whining about my lot in life?"  I hope that if you do not know me well, you do not leave my blog with those impressions, because I am my own hardest critic.

I also hope that I don't leave the impression that our lives are all doom and gloom.  We have great lives.  We have a lot of fun with our family and friends.  Katie loves school, her friends, her sports activities both with her autistic friends and her other friends.  She loves going to catechism and bible school, going on vacation and swimming in our pool.  She loves her family more than anything, especially her cousins.  As her mom, I also love my life.  I have a wonderful job, fabulously understanding friends, a supportive family, and an amazing husband.  I have 2 other beautiful daughters that keep me going crazy.  Being Katie's mom is a full time activity, but I also do many things at my kid's schools and at church.  Running my kids all over town keeps me busy and happy as well.  Finding a balance between the good and the craziness of Autism has taken awhile, but I don't want to scare off any parents who children have been newly diagnosed with Autism.  There is life after.  There is a good life after, if you want to make it that way.  You just have to find out what works for your child, what works for you, and take it day by day.

When I was younger, if I had painted a picture of what my life would become, it would look nothing like what it has turned out to be.  The characters would be the same, but the lifestyle would be totally different.  I would have had totally different friends, probably a different work schedule, and a completely different outlook on life.  I know that I wouldn't have appreciated the little things in life that way I do now.  I wouldn't know the depth of compassion and generosity that others have shown me.  It is devastating to image that other picture, so I try not to think about it too much.  How can I dwell on that picture, without eliminating all that is wonderful about my life right now?  If you have a child that is close to you, that is affected by Autism, I hope that you can find in my writings something that helps you in your everyday adventures.  I hope that you can see a little bit of your life, and know that you are not alone out there.  That you can find some "normal" in the things that happen to your child, because our normal is a little different from everyone else's.  If you don't know Autism personally, I hope that you read to learn more, to understand more.  When you see Katie and me stumbling along, living our Adventures in Autism, I hope that you can stop and smile, and know that we will be just fine.  Thank you for reading.

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