Dear Autism, Thank You For Showing Me Different Can Be Good

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“Dear Autism,

I have to be honest, I didn’t always know a lot about you. Let’s be real, I knew NOTHING. But now, I feel like you have always been a part of my life. I do not remember life without you. I hear you have a habit of doing that.

When you burst into my life a few short years ago, I was so angry. Let’s be honest, I hated you. I hated everything about you. You turned my world upside down, in ways you probably will never know. You scared me, scared me beyond belief. Probably because you were the reason my little boy’s life was becoming increasingly harder. You were the reason he lost his gorgeous little voice. You were the reason why he would not kiss me good night, the reason why people stared at him, made comments, and judged him. You were the reason I cried a million tears. You were possibly my greatest enemy.

Mom holds son with autism to chest
Courtesy of Nicole Duggan

Boy, did you come into our lives with a bang. I’ll never forget the first day I heard your name. I went home, and I cried. I cried for days. I looked at my gorgeous little boy, and I sobbed, and that is your fault. The more I read about you, the more tears would fall. I did not think I could handle you. I did not think I was strong enough. I did not want you to take over my gorgeous boy’s life. But they were right. The more I researched you, the more I knew you, they were right.

The day we were officially introduced, I expected to cry a million more tears. The reality is I knew they would say your name. I knew I would get that piece of paper with your name on it. I just knew. Not one tear fell from my eyes, I just remember saying, ‘I know,’ and that was it, you were officially part of our lives forever. You were part of my gorgeous, amazing little boy. I could either let this break me down, or I could accept it and stand up and fight. Fight for him, fight for everything he needed, and make sure he could have a happy life, with you there with us, of course.

I’m not saying I don’t hate you anymore. Because deep down, I think I still do. I’m not saying you don’t make me cry anymore. You do. You confuse me on a daily basis. You frustrate me. You upset me beyond belief. Because you make things so so hard. There are things I do not understand. Like why you had to take his voice. Why you made him see the world so differently. Why you make the smallest noise sound like a marching band to him. Why you made me wait so long to see him clap his hands or wave bye-bye. Why you decided to make his life harder than it has to be. You drive me absolutely crazy. But I have found ways to deal with you. I have learned so much about you, and every day, I am learning more.

Autistic boy holds tablet
Courtesy of Nicole Duggan

Even though you do all of these things to me, I have to say thank you. Thank you for making me the mom I am today. I never thought I could deal with something like this. You pushed me so hard, and now I know I can. Thank you for making me strong, for making me a fighter, for making me a better person. Without you, I don’t think I could have found these things within myself. Thank you for showing me different can be good. My gorgeous boy may be wired differently, but he is amazing, and I suppose you have a part to play in that. Thank you for making me love him even more, I didn’t think it was possible. For making me hug him even tighter, and for making me appreciate all the little things in life. The things other people take for granted. You have shown me how important these little things are.

I may have despised you before, I may have hated you beyond belief. But now I accept you and all your craziness. I accept how different you make life. You are a huge part of my little boy. But you do not define him. Because in my eyes, he will always be an amazing little boy first; you are going to have to take second place. Even though sometimes you try to push your way out in front.

I never thought I would say it, but you have taught me more than you can imagine. Love, hope, fear, and how to fight the hardest battle I have come across as a mom. A never-ending one. I don’t want to beat you, because you make him more amazing each day. But I do hope one day though, we will compromise, and you will give him back his voice. Because I long to hear him speak. After that, we may just be friends.

Who knows.

It has been a crazy ride so far, and I have a feeling it is only going to get crazier. Keep teaching me. Keep showing me how to be strong. Keep pushing me on when I feel like I can’t do it.

Fingers crossed one day we will find a balance. Until then keep being you. Just be kind to him: that is all I ask.

Riley’s mom”

Mom and son with autism who is wearing red hat backwards
Courtesy of Nicole Duggan

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Nicole Duggan of Cork, Ireland. Follow her on Facebook here and Instagram here. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more stories from Nicole here:

‘Will I have friends soon, mom?’ Since December, my son has been isolated because he is Autistic.’: Mom speaks out about education for Autistic son, ‘He doesn’t deserve less’

‘You made the nice list!’ The words that made everything OK again. He gave him a certificate with his name on it.’: Non-verbal boy with Autism surprised by sensory friendly Santa at home

‘Riley is now 6 years old. He still does not speak. I always thought words were what mattered.’: Mom to son with autism says ‘I was lucky to be in his world, I just didn’t know it yet’

‘All the adults are freaking out because they don’t like the sudden change in routine!’: Autism mom says ‘autism doesn’t allow change; he expects his old normal back’

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