I am in the process of moving past all of the sometimes moments. I still do not know if I am prepared for Autism, but I do know that I am finding the happy in the midst of it all. This time of year is a time of refection for many. It can be a season of re-birth when we ponder the birth of a Savior. But, for others it may be just plain hard. Some may be missing loved ones who have passed. Some may be wishing their spouse was home from military deployment. Others may have bitterness in their hearts for all of the horrible things life has thrown their way. There are those with anger. Those with pain. Those with unforgiveness in their hearts.
Then there is joy.
Autism has taught me a lot of things in the short time that we have known one another. Some of the lessons have been hard to understand but some have been "light bulb" moments. Autism has taught me to question everything I know or thought I knew about development and to appreciate the simplest milestones. It has taught me how to be jealous and selfish...yet it has also taught me how sacrifice completely for another human being. It has taught me to view the world in a different way. This way does not make sense to me many times, but I am learning. While this journey may be
difficult and the unknown may be fearful...I am finding my joy.
When Drake watches Curious George and his face lights up with laughter at the funny parts. Joy.
Anytime the Christmas tree is turned on Drake has this little smile on his face. Last year he didn't acknowledge the tree. He walks up to it and admires the lights and shiny things. Joy.
Our cat, Pebbles, has been with us 16 years....Drake has just started acknowledging her existence (much to her dismay). Joy.
Drake has become a little helper. He likes to do things like help me unload the dishwasher and put clothes in the washing machine. Joy.
Drake's face every single time he sees my Daddy. They have a special love for one another, no one competes with Grandaddy. Joy.
Drake does not speak. Not a single word. But...almost everyone who spends any amount of time with him can communicate with him. He has the unique ability to communicate amazingly well without uttering a word. Joy.
His laughter is magical. Joy.
When he masters something he has been struggling with you can see the confidence on his face. Joy.
Drake interacts differently than other children, but he still interacts. He wants others to be in the room with him when he is watching his cartoons. He loves having others watch him jump on his trampoline. Joy.
He is responding so well to therapy and he loves his therapists in a unique and special way. Joy.
All of these things put a smile on my face just thinking about them. However, there is one thing about Drake that makes my heart nearly burst. I'm not sure I can adequately put into words how much joy it brings me when Drake tells me he loves me....without speaking. Drake has always been affectionate and there are moments that I know without a doubt he is telling me he loves me...deeply. Others who know and love Drake have expressed these same sentiments. Love is more than words to Drake. He doesn't need words to express emotions and feelings. He has mastered the true essence of love in three short years. It takes some people decades to understand that love is more than words....it is action. While Drake has not found his voice he certainly understands what it is to love and be loved. I am blessed to be his Mother. I am thankful for his sweet spirit and for all that he is teaching me.
May all of your hearts be filled with joy this Christmas season and always. Remember, no matter how bleak the situation...there is always a tiny thread of hope called joy.
1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.