The View From Here
Have you ever set out on a task and thought, "I sure hope I can see this through...", only to realize that at some point, you've done it? And not only have you done it, you find that there were many moments that were beautiful?
You've climbed the mountain, you've changed your health, you've worked at a summer camp as the cook (true story!), you worked your butt off and saved an important relationship, you did a total room make-over, saved for a down payment on a house? Whatever it was, didn't it take you by surprise? Yes, you set out to do it, but still, to turn around and find that the view from this new place in your life is beautiful and unexpected? Doesn't the view take your breath away?
I was watching videos of my son Caleb, who has autism. The videos were from when we had our middle child, Abigail. Caleb was 4 years old at the time. That was 8 years ago.
Watching videos of Caleb when he was young, and seeing how sweet & happy he was left me feeling overwhelmed.
Those were hard times, and felt like dark days filled with uncertainty, but now, with my view from here, I see his ability, his character, his goofiness has always been there!
Over the years, he's developed skills that have made him into an amazing pre-teen.
My view now shows me & reminds me that even if today seems dark & endless and if hopelessness wants to take over, it will be ok!
Doubts about the future and how uncertain it all is feels like a boulder strapped to my back. But I turn and look, and I see it all. My pregnancy with him, his birth, his first birthday, the red flags of autism and the drowning feeling it brought on. The suggested day care, speech therapy, occupational therapy, Sunday School, years of potty training, bowel and food issues, starting a gluten free diet, refusing to put on footwear, running away, being brought home by the police, jumping in the lake and being saved numerous times. Starting school, riding the bus, bringing his baby sisters home......it goes on and on, playing like a film in my mind.
You know when you're watching a movie, and everything seems hopeless, but you're sure it will work out. You're not at all sure how, but you are sure it will.
I didn't feel like that back when Caleb was young, but now, from here, I do feel that. I feel it so deep down in my heart and soul.
I still feel worried about him as an adult, him getting a job, or living on his own, but I also know it will be ok.
I know this because I can see for miles behind me, and I can see that all along he's been getting stronger, smarter, more brave, more clever, more vocal, more friendly. He's learning, pushing, working hard, and becoming an amazing young man.
Last Wednesday I went to watch him play in his first volleyball tournament. And, I needed to keep myself from crying! His classmates are so kind and helpful, and Caleb, as goofy as he is, can serve that ball like it ain't nobodies business! He just subs in to serve, but that's more than enough for now! He's great at serving! He's included, and he's spending time with the boys in his class in a setting outside of the classroom, recess, and field trips!
I watched him with so much pride in my heart, knowing what the journey has been for him. When he was 18 months old and I was leaving him at a day care that told me he's mostly trouble, doesn't fit in, and struggles with every task, I never ever, in a million years would have dreamt of the day that I'd watch his team fight and win the A Championship, with him helping to achieve that!
The view from here...it's spectacular!
I know from here, while looking back, that I also still have a long way ahead of me with Caleb. But stopping to look back brings clarity, brings hope, and brings so much joy to my heart that it gives me energy for the future!
My heart today is for the parent of a child with autism who is reading this, and they are in the middle of their storm.
Please know that you aren't alone in this journey. And also know that with love, and consistency, using your gut instinct, and raising your child like they are precious, will yield temendous results - perhaps not outwardly as you may hope, but in your heart, and in the heart of your child, no matter how severe the autism.
The view you have now is not the view you will have forever, take heart in that. This autism journey is tiring, it's emotional, it's so up and down! But it's also beautiful. Because one day you'll see something so amazing in your child that your heart will be filled to the top! But you need to be looking. You need to be seeing the big picture, forward and backward. Last year really sucked for Caleb. But this year? This year has been so absolutely amazing! But I only know that because I am taking stock. I am checking out the view!
You can do this. You're not stuck here forever. Autism is forever changing, moving and growing.
Trust me. Just trust me. The view will be (and is) amazing.
12/2/2016 07:30:37 am
Awesome job Caleb! You have grown so much- so proud of you!
12/3/2016 05:33:54 pm
:) He has grown a LOT!
12/3/2016 05:40:10 pm
Thank you for sharing this. I have a four year old with autism, and I feel like I am at the end of my rope. He is difficult and it seems like everything is too much. But reading this honestly gave me a sense of hope with him. He IS sweet and wonderful, but I often don't see it because of how much he drains me everyday with all of the issues we're dealing with. This reminded me to see the bigger picture of his life and what job we're doing (and how important the job is).
12/5/2016 12:31:49 pm
Hi Keira, thank you so much for taking the time to share and leave a comment. Your words encouraged me, and I'm so glad to have been an encouragement to you.
12/5/2016 06:08:20 pm
What a beautiful boy! We are blessed to be a part of his life. The video of him serving brought a smile to our faces!
12/8/2016 07:41:01 am
Thanks Jessie! :)
Myron and Rachel Weaver
1/25/2017 08:39:12 am
I am looking back at the view of the years past. My autistic boy is 18. There were lots of tears, potty training and bathroom training dilemas, food issues, diet changes, tantrums and inabilities. But we stuck it out with love and determination and prayer and we've won. You would never, never know in a million years that this was my problem baby, toddler, scholar. He is well adjusted, capable and confident. He has a job in layout and design. He is a whiz at math, science and computers. We are blest. Hang in and be encouraged.
1/25/2017 11:20:45 am
Your story gave me the boost I needed today!
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Hi, I'm Amy-Lyn!
I am the lady behind this here blog! I live in the sticks with my animals, my super handsome husband, and my
3 amazing kids!
Here you'll find things from recipes (gluten-free, paleo, and strait up junk food!), DIY ideas, thoughts on raising a son with autism, and whatever else pops into my brain! : )
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