Today’s guest blogger is one of my dearest friends. We met as college co-eds 30 years ago and boy, we had some fun times. So many great memories, we still talk and laugh about today. Almost 14 years ago we gave birth 10 days apart, she had her beautiful first born son and 10 days later we had our gorgeous baby girl. I firmly believe that God brought us together in that campus dining hall because he knew that we would need each other so very much in the years to come. Both of our sweet kiddos, born 10 days apart, would be diagnosed on the autism spectrum. Like many parents of kids on the spectrum our struggles have been the same and different, but she has always been a source of love, support and strength for me and I admire her more than words can say. Please say a prayer for her and her sweet boy. Her pain and struggle is real and so very hard. I love you girl.
It’s not like I am not used to being disappointed; being a mom to child on the autistic spectrum, disappointment comes in a steady stream. But, quite often it’s disguised as the usual parent-child dyad “dealing with the world” disappointment that everyone needs to recognize and plan for when parenting. But, when this disappointment is gut-wrenching, “crawl under my bed and stay there for a while” disappointment, “any and all bets are off” disappointment….then, it’s time to re-route; no stopping at the next rest stop, then moving on to your destination….no, completely changing your route and/or your destination, and that is where I find myself at this moment.
It wasn’t enough to move through the first two years of middle school with the constant “discipline” requiring detention, in school, and out of school suspension. It wasn’t the complete and utter lack of any sort of cooperative planning, it wasn’t even the loose tongue of the school counselor who shared that the goal of the administration was to force my son out of district. No, it was the ostracism, and the pure and venomous anger that bubbled up to the surface and was directed straight at my family….my family. So, just as our country is now dealing with the gut wrenching disappointment in humanity that has bubbled to the surface, so am I with the knowledge that my comfort zone, my community, has chosen to expel my family in order to best meet the needs of the majority. I can use the word expel because it was that exact word that was used by parents/students in a request made to school administration in regards to my son….he should be expelled. Wow.
So, this year, I’m re- routing, soul searching, and seeking the wisdom of others rather than shopping for school supplies, and I have to say that without the support of my dearest friends and the online disability community, I’d be lost. But, thankfully, there are roads that have been traveled by others, and maps that have been crafted to guide the lost, and I am slowly charting a new route to a newly defined destination. And, as I do so, I am realizing that within this imperfect world, filled with hatred, resentment, and the worst that human nature has to offer, there is the equally strong force of compassion, conviction, and the absolute beauty that human nature can radiate. So, I am not exactly sure of the destination yet, but I am taking each and every hand that is being offered and considering each and every wise word that is being shared and moving on….re- routing….I’ll let you know the way when I find it.