It’s been one year ago today since Benji’s Autism diagnosis.
So much has happened in this past year, it feels like a lot longer.
I remember going into the diagnosis process feeling overwhelmed, thinking, “Something needs to change.”
I was ready for that change, to tackle our issues, to overcome our challenges, to move mountains.
But in this crazy, unexpected, growing year since his diagnosis, I’m learning that some mountains don’t move.
I had the vague notion when we started all the appointments and all the therapy, and while I was reading all the books, that we would be able to scale Benji’s mountains and overcome his struggles.
One step at a time, together, we would climb, conquer, and come out on the other side.
There are a lot of people in the world today who think Autism can be cured, through diets, therapies, supplements, whatever.
I’m not one of those people.
I’ve spent a massive amount of mental energy (and personal guilt) trying to discover the causes of Autism. My research and personal experience has led me to this: The causes of Autism are unknown. It is most likely genetic.
In dark, vulnerable moments, my husband and I have asked each other, “Do you wish Benji wasn’t Autistic?”
And the answer is always “No.” We love our son. We love who he is, his personality, his quirks, his special interests. Being Autistic is who he is, with all its gifts and challenges.
And it is challenging. I’ve needed a lot of help and support to parent him this year, from therapy, books, friends who have special need children, and much, much prayer.
We’ve addressed many of Benji’s challenges this year, from handwriting, to shoe tying, to frustration tolerance, to calm-down techniques, to church struggles.
He has grown so much. We all have. We’ve gotten stronger, smarter, wiser, braver.
But we haven’t overcome his Autism.
Or his Sensory Processing Disorder
Or his ADHD
His diagnosis is a year old but these are challenges he is going to live with his whole life.
That’s what the therapy has been for: learning to live with these challenges.
And when I say, “live with” I don’t mean in a just-sigh-and-give-up sort of way. I mean, “live with” in a way that creates Life.
I think that’s what this last year has primarily been about: Building a life with Autism.
I’m not just focused on overcoming his struggles anymore. I’m working on knowing, understanding, caring for, and loving my son, and accepting him for who he is.
I’m not trying to move the mountains because here’s the truth: They aren’t going to move.
I have faith but, small as it may be, I don’t think God wants me to move these mountains.
I think He wants me to be content, to love and live right where I am, where our family is, where Benji is.
So, I’m trying. Day by day, moment by moment.
I’m learning to make our home in the mountains.