Your child has autism. Those words were a welcome relief by the time our son was diagnosed, it reaffirmed for us we were not crazy, something was really going on with him. We recognized for almost all of his second year of life he was regressing. His words became fewer and fewer, he was seeking out being alone, no one could yell in our home (not even for the exciting part of a football game) without Connor yelling/screaming back at us, he was changing from the child we had grown to love into a child that felt like a stranger to our family. The range of emotions that followed reminded me of the grieving process I have only heard about except after a beloved leaves their physical body, you plan a funeral and do your very best to move through the range of emotions that follow and get on with life, any way you can. After our son, Connor was diagnosed with autism in May of 2002, we were grieving the child I held within my body before his birth and a blissful year of his life and the sweet angel of a baby he was after his birth. After his diagnosis, we had to come to grips with a so-called disability not many knew about except for the 1988 movie Rainman and yet this disability was becoming rampant across the country, especially in our county. I could not find one parent who could offer hope in any way. Every person I spoke with only shared a disdain for their school district, regional center, state, teachers who were not willing to teach their children and fellow parents of typical children who did not understand this disability called autism. I was not about to live with hate in my heart, more so because I was already sinking into despair and depression, any other negative emotion I would brush up against would cause me to sink deeper into depression.
Our son Connor is now 18 years old, we have both transformed into people I would not recognize from my 2002 perspective. Connor has become such a chatty young man, my most social child out of three and offers me and our family so much joy every single day, he throws a little bit of teenage angst in, just to keep me on my toes. Every evening, he and I take a short walk around our block before I head out for my long evening walk. Every night our son Connor says “Hello” to every neighbor or stranger he comes across, last night I had to take a photo of him working his magic with the neighbors. The local park near our home often hosts flag football practice as well as games, as we walk by, Connor will say “hello” to anyone in his vicinity, children, parents, and coaches. It struck me last evening as I contemplated this even more if I had known how incredible life would be when he was 18 years old, what would I have done differently over the past 16 years?
Perhaps I would not have been as sad, depressed or worried about his/our future. Maybe I would not have worried so much about him, his lack of language, his desire to be by himself, any of the behaviors I did not understand. This question allowed me to contemplate where we will be in another 16 years? He will always have this ability called autism but if we can come this far within 16 years, I can only imagine life will be more amazing 16 years into our future. So now, my quest, whenever I begin to feel the burden that washes over me on occasion as I worry about the future, I will remind myself of how far we have come together.
I invite you to contemplate this as well. What would you do differently? How would you act and move forward in life knowing if you place your trust in God, the Universe or All that is, whatever you personally call this higher power, how would you act or behave differently? Take time to ask yourself this question. It is my promise to you, you will receive the answer(s). My love, Tracie
As milestones happen within my life, it causes me to contemplate and reflect, especially those early years of autism, early 2000’s. Learning to deal with this so-called disability that came into my/our life unexpectedly, unwittingly, trying to find a positive way to move forward could not be found back then. Our son Connor’s inability to communicate, the tantrums that followed, therapists, teachers, schools, strangers traipsing through our home for behavioral and speech therapy, my despair and depression as I was trying to move through and continue to live a “normal” life for the sake of our older children and my husband. There is no doubt I was in survival mode in those early days, trying to move through life without thinking of ending it. As our son has gotten older, he turned 18 this past summer, he is a senior in high school, his verbal skills are rampant, especially when speaking about his favorite subjects, tantrums are non-existent, his only discomforts he does exhibit is perfectly “typical”, whatever that means, he would be a robot otherwise. He is truly a sweet child, ahem, young man and his loving countenance now shines through. He has become the most social child, ahem, adult out of all three of our children, life has gotten easier, depression has lifted although there are days it does pay a visit now and again just to keep me grounded and I feel like I am emerging in life.
It is now most obvious to me why we must live in the present. Our power is in our NOW. We only have control over how we feel and react to each moment and absolutely no power over another. We often believe we have power over our children and parents do try, a few children may acquiesce when they are very small but they will have their freedom as they get older, they may choose to rebel as teens or young adults. We are all freedom-seeking beings, every one of us. Choosing to find or be the calm within a storm is a choice you must make, only you can choose that for yourself. I hope to be the positive influence I was unable to find in the beginning of our story even one parent, more if possible. Life can be wonderful. It feels so good to write and express my knowing, I hope it continues.
My love, Tracie
I am still learning so much from this child, ahem, adult.
Life can truly become miraculous.
Fear is a beautifully human trait but as we have observed from previous generations, we can acknowledge, fear does not move us forward, it holds us back, capturing us forever in limbo or slow progress moving forth. Fear perpetuates the problem. Living from the heart, through the heart, moves worlds and brings us easily to a solution.
I have always known a magnificent connection to Source, the Universe, All-that-is or that which I call God, but nothing shifted my inner world more profoundly than having a child with autism, which is why I know for certain why Connor came forth into my experience. For most of my life, I silenced what I knew and felt because I did not want to be ridiculed by peers and because I feared getting into trouble for expressing what I knew and felt since it was not what I was being taught in school…
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I have learned and continue learning, we can experience Heaven on earth but it is a choice to view your life in that way. Really? No matter what life throws your way, we have the ability to respond with love in our hearts or not. We have absolutely no control over another, how they move through life or how they view or perceive life but we have full control over how we direct our own thoughts and how we perceive everything. It takes practice and even when you know this as I do, I still forget when I allow stress to overtake me.
Ponder this thought for a moment, so many people, myself included believe when life becomes overwhelming, when we are doing so much within our lives we think, Heaven sounds like a wonderful alternative. “When I get to Heaven, I can rest, I will be happy, and finally stop all this fussing and worrying.” What if we came to bring Heaven to Earth? What if by focusing our thoughts in the direction of wonderful things, life then shows us more to enjoy, love, laugh, and experience? As of late, I have been asking for life to show me my JOY. Show me more and in the meantime when I do find JOY, see joy or anything to appreciate within my life, I say, Thank You! Isn’t it worth it to ponder what kind of joy and happiness life can possibly bring to you? Aren’t you just a little curious about how incredible life can become for you?
Valid, even now.
One of my wonderful friends and fellow Parent Pathfounder shared this with me this morning and tears filled my eyes as I read it because it touched my heart and resonated so deeply and I wanted to share with you all ~
Letting go ~
SHE LET GO …. without a thought or a word, she let go.
She let go of the fear.
She let go of the judgements.
She let go of the opinions swarming around her head.
She let go of the committee of indecision within her.
She let go of all the “right” reasons.
Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.
She didn’t ask for advice.
She didn’t read a book on how to let go.
She just let go.
She let go of all the memories that held her back.
She let go of all the anxiety that kept her from…
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Riding the wave ~
As human beings we are always searching for things that are constant. We try with all of our might to get things to stay, to be, to not shift, move or let it out of our sight. The more we try to nail it down and make it stay, the more fleeting it becomes. We all reach, reach, reach for what we desire most, money, youth, security, love, anything no matter what name you give it, the more you attempt with physical action to hold onto it, the faster it seems to slip away, like water through your fingers. All of this action to me, someone who is empathic, intuitive, which we all are to varying degrees, feels resistant in nature, it feels like a clog in a drain, a knot, there is no movement in all of those words I used to describe that feeling of trying to hold…
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I enjoy reading words I wrote a year or two or more and finding the wisdom within my own words. We have this knowledge within us, even if we forget, momentarily.
For just a moment, think back to a moment in time that made you sad or mad. Whatever that moment was, you had a physical reaction within your body.
Do you remember what the physical reaction to that moment felt like?
You could have just experienced it once again at the thought of it?
Now switch to a moment of Love, the birth of a child, the moment you knew you were in love with your spouse or partner.
What is your body’s physical response to that thought?
In these moments, either positive or negative, you witnessed a change of energy or vibration within your physical body. You can “feel” the shift in your energy on a physical and emotional level.
Our children diagnosed with autism feel this on many levels of their being. Not only their own physical changes within as they witness or observe something in their environment…
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Above all, I prefer ease.
The gap inbetween.
A content smile.
To sit long enough in that space of quietness, contentness.…
As I do this, I can feel my soul fill and overflow and then I am of great benefit to all I come in contact with.
Stress and anxiety have no place here, although there was great benefit from them.
My love, Tracie
In honor of #Autismawareness month, may I offer a blog near and dear to my heart. With so many struggling, looking for purpose, perhaps looking toward a perspective that may be a little different may be just the thing.
What can all of humanity can learn from Autism? I believe Autism has valuable lessons for all if we are willing to listen. Embracing Autism isn’t a popular way of being, many parents will put up walls right here and stop reading this article at the thought of embracing something that can be so challenging. I agree, it can be a difficult challenge for many parents initially, especially when our children are so hypersensitive to the energy that surrounds them. It is not my intention to force another to see any way of life in the way I do but to simply share my experience, my process, my perspective. I did not always embrace Autism, it has been a long and difficult road but if I may offer hope to one parent, to be the person I was searching for after Connor’s diagnosis, to gently whisper to you, the life that is available to you…can…
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I appreciate the knowledge within. There is no reason to search outside of ourselves for answers, we hold them within. I appreciate learning from…myself. ^.^
I am a wife to a wonderful guy, the mother of three great children, completely biased of course, our youngest child happens to have autism among his many talents. I have been down the path of insecurity, judgment, fear, trying to do better than others, be better than others, feeling like a victim of life or the circumstances until depression took hold in a big way more than a decade ago. I knew if I were to continue living, I was not about to live life in the same mindset I was practicing the first 30 years of my life. I set the intention to find more meaning within my life. I could not understand why I was feeling depressed, I was/am married to a great guy, we enjoy a loving, fun, content relationship and I have had the pleasure of knowing him most of my life. We created three…
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