Monday, August 13, 2007

What My Son Has Taught Me

When my son was diagnosed with autism there were a million things going through my head. One of the most prevalent was the thought that he would never be a normal boy and that all of my dreams had been wiped clean. I felt as though my little boy would never lead a "normal" life and that nothing good could ever come of this "autism".

That was 11 years ago. In those eleven years I have learned many valuable lessons from my son. I would like to share some of them with you.

My son has taught me compassion. I have eaten so many words that I should be full forever. I will never again look at a child having a meltdown in the store and think that he needs a good spanking or that his mother is not a very good mother. I will look into her weary eyes and try to convey my understanding. My son has taught me that.

My son has taught me honesty. He never sees a good reason to lie. He is probably right. He will never break anyone's heart, steal from another the things that they have worked so hard for, or get something that he doesn't deserve. He won't lie to protect himself from punishment or to get out of something. He will take the consequences of his actions because he simply doesn't see that there is any other way to live. Truthful is the only way to be and my son has taught me that.

My son has taught me tenacity. So many days I would like to just go back to the way that my life used to be. To not have to research, advocate, call, write, get to know my legislators, get to know my administrators, or fight one more battle. But, if I don't, who will? Who will be the person that makes sure that he lives up to his fullest potential, if I don't? My son has taught me to never quit.

My son has taught me to be supportive. Before he was born I was happy keeping my house spotless, my garden weedless, and my life simple. Because of him I have learned the value of support. Giving and receiving. I have met wonderful people and I thank God every day that He brought us together. I constantly hear that God doesn't give us more than we can bear. I believe that He does. I believe that He also gave us each other knowing that we would support each other and help each other get through this. He also was so wise as to give a scientist the idea that we would be needing Lexapro and that it needed to be developed.

My son has taught be to be assertive. I had always believed that the experts knew everything and that we should blindly place our faith in them. I now know that is simply not true and that without questions there can never be any real answers. I have learned that we will never be given anything without making it available and that requires a lot of diligence and hard work. I have learned that we can put a man on the moon, but we can't teach the engineer, that made the shuttle, social skills.

My son has taught me charity. He is willing to give anything that he has to someone that has less. He would give his most prized possession to another child. He would move a homeless person into our home. He would give his food to a hungry person. My son has shown me how selfish I can be and what the true meaning of a giving heart is.

My son has taught me love. He loves with no conditions. In his eyes, I am the most beautiful woman in the world. In his eyes I am the most intelligent person on the planet. In his heart, I am the best Mommy that God ever created. Our lives are not what we had expected. He will never be the president of the United States. He will never be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. He will never be a lawyer or a doctor. In reality, I have no idea what his future holds. But, at night when I lay down beside him and look into that angelic face, I can't imagine him any other way.

By Sherri Tucker