The Good Thing About Autism

By Kristi Wagner, Parent Contributor

kristiwagnerfamily

I remember bringing home my first born son from the hospital. I was obsessed. Overwhelmed by the staggering responsibility of taking care of this little life. And overwhelmed by the perfect beauty of our precious baby. Sheer, blinding love.

Those first months were a blur of holding him and nursing him a LOT. One night when he was three months old he was having a really hard time sleeping. Again. And, again, I did everything I could. But this time nothing worked. And he ended up shrieking for several minutes, inconsolable. I was devastated. I felt like a failure as a mom. And pretty much all I did was “mom,” so the feeling of failure and desperation ran deep.

So began my journey- the first of many books and frantic mom research to help my helpless little son.

stack of books

It wasn’t until he was about seven years old that we realized he had autism. And the journey continued. More research and books and support groups. Massive diet overhauls and sensory work and exhaustion and perseverance. And the poignant joy and work of having three more children.

And now he is a handsome, tall, pimply teenage boy. And he remembers football scores and history events impeccably. He reads and writes and is the model of discipline in completing his chores and home school work. I catch glimpses of a great man growing in him.

And then there are other times. When the video game isn’t going his way, and the faulty executive function in his brain betrays him. He throws the remote and storms to his room, crying and screaming like a toddler. And my heart breaks for this amazing young man who did not ask to have autism.

I’m struck by his patience through it all. It is his life, I suppose. It’s all he knows. He’s used to sounds being too loud. Crowds of people being overwhelming. Emotions flaring out of control.

So, I’ve learned to be a little more patient through it, too. I’ve learned that many times I can’t fix the problem. I sit with him sadly. My heart fully sharing the pain. I offer some juice or lure the dog to comfort him. And we get over it together.

kristiskidswithdoggie

I am learning to embrace the bitter and the sweet in this journey my son travels. He may work through the many struggles enough to find a fulfilling niche as an independent adult. And he may not.

In the meantime we find meaning and hope in the knowledge that there is more to life than perfect social skills and high end careers. Deep joy surges in the mystery that we live in an upside down world. The truth is that in the ways that really matter the weak are strong, the last are first, and the losers are the ultimate, beautiful winners.

kristiskite

What a privilege is mine that I get to be the mom as I fiercely love this boy! My heart and prayers stretch upward as I haltingly release this precious gift into the purposes for which he was created.

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Upcoming Support Group Meetings

Apr
24
Mon
7:00 PM Autistic Adult Social (Ages 18+) @ East Library Community Room
Autistic Adult Social (Ages 18+) @ East Library Community Room
Apr 24 @ 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Autistic Adult Social (Ages 18+) @ East Library Community Room | Colorado Springs | Colorado | United States
The Autistic Adult Social Group is a group designed for adults on the autism spectrum. The group provides a safe, supportive environment for autistic adults to make friends and explore common interests with others on the spectrum. Participants are encouraged to
7:00 PM Women on the Spectrum Social and... @ East Library Community Room
Women on the Spectrum Social and... @ East Library Community Room
Apr 24 @ 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Women on the Spectrum Social and Support Group (WOS3) (18+) @ East Library Community Room | Colorado Springs | Colorado | United States
This group is designed for women on the spectrum.  The group provides a safe, supportive environment where women on the autism spectrum can make friends, share similar life challenges, and find support. Participants are encouraged to bring light snacks and a
Apr
25
Tue
6:30 PM North Springs Teen Social Group @ Pikes Peak Library 21C
North Springs Teen Social Group @ Pikes Peak Library 21C
Apr 25 @ 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
North Springs Teen Social Group @ Pikes Peak Library 21C | Colorado Springs | Colorado | United States
  We are starting up a second Teen Social on the fourth Tuesday of every month, at the Pikes Peak Library 21C.  We will meet in room B2 for June July and September and room B6 for August October and November.
Apr
27
Thu
6:30 PM Mom’s Night Out @ Mimi's Cafe
Mom’s Night Out @ Mimi's Cafe
Apr 27 @ 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM
Mom's Night Out @ Mimi's Cafe | Colorado Springs | Colorado | United States
  Join us for our monthly Mom’s Night Out! Meet other moms of kids on the autism spectrum, share some laughs, find support, and leave re-energized. Please note that this event is for moms only. Nursing babies are welcome, but please
Apr
29
Sat
10:30 AM Family Support & Social Group @ First United Methodist Church
Family Support & Social Group @ First United Methodist Church
Apr 29 @ 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Family Support & Social Group @ First United Methodist Church | Colorado Springs | Colorado | United States
  The Family Support & Social Group is designed for families with children on the spectrum (ages 5-12) to meet other families, find support, have fun, and make new friends!  While the kids play, the parents will have space to