guest post by Suzanne McRae
June 2, 2013 By Suzanne McRae
Today June 2nd, 2013… it is 20 years later after our son’s autism diagnosis, on this day in 1993.
As I was working in my flower gardens this weekend and I was remembering the year that we had created our first big flower garden at our home and it was the year after our son had been diagnosed with autism. All of a sudden I remembered what date we were… and realized the next day June 2nd was going to be the 20thanniversary of our son’s autism diagnosis, a day where it feels that our life was changed forever in so many ways.
A year ago I wrote a blog post about his diagnosis, he had just turned 3 years old and just a few weeks ago he had his 23rd birthday.
How is it different for us today than it was for those first 20 years?
We have survived what felt like intense early years. I had so many fears of the unknown for him especially as an adult. I don’t know how it happened, but he’s now a young adult and we got here without fully realizing it. It seemed to happen almost overnight.
Back then life felt like one big roller-coaster ride for so long… so many ups and downs, we were rarely ever coasting it seemed… we were either going upwards at a slower more relaxed page… but mostly it seemed that the ride took us on a downward dive, experiencing what felt like steep high-speed drops. They were painful times to go through. It felt like we had very little control about our situation, like there were no other choices but to hold on for dear life with all we had so we wouldn’t be thrown off the roller-coaster.
Today it no longer feels like we are on a roller-coaster ride. We choose instead to coast through life with our son at the speed that we wish most of the time. I must say that we rarely ever have any speed bumps along the way. The ride is so much smoother. We have learned to navigate life with greater ease. Learning that we could co-create the life we desired for ourselves was such an important stepping stone in helping us get us there. It didn’t happen overnight, but it certainly does feel like we have arrived.
I believe as a family together we have come through to the other end of the autism tunnel. For the longest time I saw no glimmer of light and today all I am able to see is the light. I no longer see the autism tunnel. We have learned as a family how to shine brighter than we ever have and to live life from a much happier and more peaceful place. We are far from perfect or having it all figured out, but the strides we have made is now very clear to us and boy what a feeling that is. Our life feels so different than it did even 4 years ago when he came out of school. With a shift in our focus and also beginning to dream differently for him and our family, it all began to unfold as we saw it with time.
The autism has taught me to let go of so many things over the years. I had to learn to trust God and to trust myself and in the future even when I didn’t know how that would look or what would be available to our son. We are learning to live our life from a happier and more peaceful place and from that place more good things will come, even the things we can’t see yet.
It took me a long time to do this, but eventually I had to learn to disconnect from the things that were driving me over the edge. I could no longer do what didn’t resonate with me anymore. It felt like the fun and joy in my life had been sucked right out of me. The gut-wrenching feelings I experienced all too often were simply trying to show me how to listen to those feelings and learn to trust that they could show me the right way for my son. I had to learn to listen to those feelings, they got so intense I could no longer ignore them. My daughter has been instrumental in teaching me about those gut feelings and what they were trying to tell me. She’s been a powerful influence in my life these past few years as I began to learn to take steps towards trusting and finding my way to my own answers. My husband’s unconditional support all these years has been monumental as well in allowing me to do whatever I felt needed to get done, and this was simply another turn on this journey that he took in stride.
I am now able with greater ease to put my attention and focus on my deepest desires. This has been a lot more fun than how I used to do things. Swimming upstream or against the current so much of the time was never, ever any fun. I am going much more with the flow now, and I am able to attract more of what I wish for in my life because of it.
I rarely ever focus anymore on what anyone else is doing, or what is happening in the autism world. I make conscious efforts to listen to how I feel instead. If it brings me that not so great feeling, I choose for the most part to not go there. If what I wish for my son is slightly different from someone else, I will follow that path that feels right for us instead of not listening to my inner voice. I prefer to keep my energy flowing in the direction that feels right where I know that a world of unlimited possibilities awaits for us and our son.
I have come to realize that our son is showing us what he wants in life. He always believes that what he wants, he can have. He chooses what he loves and eventually, almost always (not quite) it become reality for him. He is teaching us to focus on whatever it is that we want, so we can attract it. He knows that the world is filled with unlimited possibilities when one believes.
Some of the greatest desires that I have for my son is that he always continue to experience an over-abundance of joy and happiness in his life; that he feel loved and supported by those that he is closest to in life; that he be able to get access to all of the opportunities in life that he desires just like us, with no limitations; that he be able to use his gifts and talents and share them with the world. I truly believe that he has many talents that will continue to be revealed. I wish to continue seeing him make his greatest desires a reality and that they continue showing up in his life.
The past 20 years has helped us to grow and be in a place that is much more peaceful, fun and light-hearted. If any of this can give hope to another parent of a special needs child or anyone else for that matter… it is my hope that my journey has been able to do that for you. I didn’t have any of this figured out 20 years ago. It took me a long time to understand that I had the power within me to change. You can do it too. Keep reaching for the feel good feelings and dream the impossible dreams.