‘It’s so easy to get caught up in what life could have been. Autism wasn’t a death sentence back then and it isn’t now.’: Autism mom pens open letter to kids, ‘I promise to always fight for you’

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“An open letter to my babies,

There is not enough time in this world to write about our story. To try to explain to you all my feelings and how we got to where we are is something I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to do right, even though I’ll always try my best. You both are living a life I know you did not choose. Neither one of you asked for the hardships I know you will encounter for the rest of your lives. Truth be told, it’s not a life I thought we would have when I was young and dreamed of motherhood.

Autism was always a word I knew, but like most people, the word was as far as my knowledge went. That was until you, my beautiful boy, got diagnosed. Your diagnosis undoubtedly made me a better person. It made me a better person because it taught me a lot of hard lessons. But getting to that point was a journey I didn’t know if I could make. In almost the same breath you got diagnosed, your sister made her entrance into this world.

Courtesy of Kendall

You, my sweet girl, were born into our family at a time of utter chaos. You see, autism doesn’t get put on hold because you have other things going on in your life. Autism is there. It’s front and center. As much as I want to say it doesn’t run our life and we are stronger than it, it will always be there. Between all the pregnancy complications, hospital stays, medical issues, and trying to navigate this new world of autism all while figuring out how to be a mom of two, that was one of the hardest times of my life.

Looking back, that year was just a dark hole of so many emotions. I tried to be strong for you both. But I know I cried a lot too. I know I wasn’t the best mom I could have been at that point and for that, I’m sorry.

Courtesy of Kendall

To live a life with autism is a world full of endless research, doctor appointments, and medication recommendations. It’s a world full of fear, guilt, and sadness. Sitting on the sidelines wondering if you would ever make friends, or if people would be kind to you has been the hardest part of raising you. I remember having anxiety attacks just thinking about your life. I remember reading stories about children with autism slipping out of the house and finding a body of water and it being too late by the time they were found. Or stories of all the bullying these children faced and people laughing at all people with disabilities. The stories made my heart sink. The pain those mothers felt is a pain that can only be imagined.

Courtesy of Kendall

I lived in fear for your life every day. After reading these stories, it was hard to climb out of the spiral they sent me down. When we faced our own encounters, my only saving grace was you never noticed when the neighborhood kids were getting annoyed with you or how they made the comment that you weren’t invited so, ‘Why is he here?’ Or how they cheered that you were gone when I had to drag you inside so they wouldn’t see me cry. That specific moment in time I stared my worse fear right in the face and it broke me. I remember crying so hard, like I just lost someone, and that day, I think I had. I lost a part of myself.

Courtesy of Kendall

But I would take all the pain if it meant you felt none of it. As a mother, all you want to do is protect your children, and help them in any way that you can. And that day was an ugly truth I may not be able to save you from the cruelness of this world.

That is why you, my precious girl, mean more to me than you will ever know. You are too young now to understand the sacrifices you have already made. Most of your first year on earth was spent tagging along to doctors’ appointments, evaluations, and car rides to therapy. Your brother undoubtedly stole the show and some days, it felt like I barely even looked at you. I wish at some point I could tell you the sacrifices will stop but I cannot say for certain what is to come. I lay in bed at night and constantly think about the future. If one day you will end up resenting me or the life that you have. But I wholeheartedly believe you were handpicked perfectly by God for your brother.

To Have & To Hold Photography

I know, throughout life, you will always be his voice and protect him in ways that I can’t. You have a personality that’s a force to be reckoned with. You are strong, determined, and won’t let anyone stand in your way. The love you have for your brother shines bright in every glance with every interaction. You may not realize it now but this life you live will make you one of the strongest, kindest people out there. Being a sibling of a child with special needs makes you one of the world’s most under-recognized superheroes. I have no doubt you will change the world one day.

To Have & To Hold Photography

And the same goes for you, my warrior, wild child. You wouldn’t be who you are without all your imperfections. And those imperfections are perfections in my eyes. Because you are downright the funniest person I have ever meet in my life. Your smile is infectious and everyone who meets you knows what a big, beautiful heart you have.

To Have & To Hold Photography

It is so easy to get caught up in what life could have been like. To share the sad parts of our life, to feel bad for yourself. But I want you to know through all the bad times, there were just as many good times. Autism was not a death sentence back then and it isn’t now. Living in the world of autism is beautiful. It’s unique and full of more love than you could ever imagine. It’s living in a world of hope and endless possibilities.

Now, Mama is only human, and I can’t promise I won’t ever let bad thoughts creep back in my head. Or that some days I can’t help but just to have a bad day. But I can promise to always be there for you. You both have this light about you that will shine bright for years to come. You both will teach the world so many valuable lessons. Just like you taught me. You taught me how to appreciate the small things in life. That nothing in this world comes without hard work and dedication. You taught me how to never give up, how to be strong, and stare the things that scare you right in the face and fight for what you believe in. You taught me patience and to live in the moment. You gave me a voice, a reason to stand up for what I believe in. You taught me the importance of a smile. The importance of always, always being kind.

I promise to share our story every day. To always spread awareness. To always preach the importance to be kind. I will do everything I can to make this world a better place for you. To always fight for you.”

To Have & To Hold Photography

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Kendall from Illinois. You can follow their journey on Instagram. 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.

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‘I was scared. ‘What would mom do?’ She has 3 jobs and STILL makes sure he gets to class.’: Daughter writes touching story about ‘superhuman’ autism mom

‘My husband took the diagnosis as an insult. ’What is your problem?’ He began to cry, ‘I just don’t want anyone to hurt him.’: Parents to son with autism say ‘he is meant to be exactly who he is’

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