About my sweet, adorable, pirate loving, sensitive son Clay? Clay is my teacher in this world. He sees so much that I am blind to. He communicates in a way that has a much deeper meaning, if you take the time to really absorb what he wants to tell you. He has my husband's beautiful brown eyes and what we like to call his "hot lips". He wears a belt, sword and pirate hat everywhere we go. But takes the time to hug his sisters if they are crying.
April was Autism Awareness month. I feel like I have heard the word Autism more times then I care to count in the last two years. I remember the first time I really heard the word. Two years ago. Just two short years ago we heard the words, "I'm sorry, your son has autism." In my gut, in my heart, in my soul I knew they were right. But hearing that word brought out so many emotions. First, I said o-kay, what do we do now? Happy to have an answer to the thousands of questions that went through my head everyday. Why doesn't Clay talk? Why doesn't he turn his head when I say his name even if I scream? Why won't he touch his stuff animals or let the carpet touch his hands? Why won't he eat anything except crackers, pasta and bread? Why, why, why????? We finally had an answer! I almost felt happy as we left the doctor's office.
And then I woke up the next morning and started to cry. And cry and cry and cry. I did not stop crying for 2 weeks. In hind sight I think I went through a grieving process. No one tells you about this at your babyshower when you are playing "Guess How Huge Molly's Stomach Is?!". You plan for what you think is the "perfect" child. Instead you get God's perfect child. Everyone tells you to start a college fund. No one tells you that the therapy involved with Autism causes many families to sell their home or take out a second mortgage. No one tells you that instead of spending time going to gymboree classes and having playdates, that you will try to avoid all those things so you don't have to explain the tantrums that come from having sensory overload.
I grieved by crying and then going into denial and then getting really angry. And now, I just feel utter and complete love and hope. Yes, there are days that I really worry about what the future holds for Clay. And other days where I see so much progress and I see what he is capable of and say to myself, "he is going to be alright." I still don't have all the answers, but one thing I do know is that Clay was put in our family for a reason. It seems that the reason changes on a daily basis, but that just shows how much he teaches all of us.
We never say Clay is Autistic. He has Autism. We are almost ready to say he "had" Autism. Clay is in recovery. We fight Autism every single day, but he is winning. Through therapy, diet and lots of love we are meeting our son. I say that I met my son for the first time when he was 3 1/2. That is the day that we broke through the wall of autism and Clay looked me in the eyes. I will never forget that day and I will never forget the look in those beautiful brown eyes.
Autism affects 1 in 150 children, 1 in 94 boys! There are so many wonderful organizations out there that are making huge strides in finding the answer to all of our questions of "why?". I'm part of an amazing group of women on www.bijouamericano.com who have taken it upon themselves to raise money for these amazing groups. They are holding an online charity event right now to raise money for Autism Awareness. All seriousness aside, this is a group of fun and CRAZY women! We chat daily and even well into the night. We are a group of moms just trying to make it through the day. Because, whether you had a child with autism, or a typical child let's face it we all need a sanity check once in a while! LOL.
So I'm telling you my story and inviting you to come and check out www.BijouAmericano.com so we can all do something so families like mine can stop asking "why". Oh, and did I forget to mention they are giving away some AMAZING prizes just for joining in on the charity event? You can either buy raffles tickets (the money going to an Autism organization) or you can earn free tickets! AND, the first month is free to join the board, so come over and check us out :)