I am still overwhelmed by all of the encouraging words and prayers that came our way after we shared our journey towards having the Autism talk with our daughter. The stress I felt leading up to it was overridden by peace when the moment came, thanks to your support and God’s presence.
The day of the talk, I was a mess. So was my daughter. We were looming on the edge of a meltdown for most of the day. The tension level was high, as I felt inadequate in facing this big moment in my child’s life. Even after God had clearly provided for us, equipping us with the materials to have a positive and well-worded discussion, I let worry get the best of me. Still, as always, God didn’t hold my lack of trust against me and His grace covered us.
It was time. The moment I’d been dreading for years. When my husband and I sat down with our daughter, I felt it wash over me…The strength of The One who created my child filled me with the ability to talk calmly and confidently about how uniquely He’d made her. We asked her if she’d ever heard us use the word Autism. She hadn’t. Moving forward, I felt as though I was watching myself from the outside, as a positive and well-articulated speech came flowing from my lips. (A miracle in itself…writing may be a strength of mine, but speeches are definitely not!) I showed her the social story I’d created for her, and followed it with a book that illustrates how our differences make us beautiful. We paused to let her react. She smiled big and agreed with what we’d told her. We asked her if she had any questions. She didn’t. The exact reaction we’d expected from her. We knew she’d need time to process. We ended the discussion by simply telling her how much we loved her. All of her. “Autism is just one part of what makes you you,” I heard myself saying. “You are special in so many ways and we love every part of who you are.”
She asked if we were done talking yet and when we told her we were, she got up and skipped off like this discussion was no different than any other. I was expecting a shift…expecting our world to change somehow. In that moment I realized that, though this discussion was a big deal, it wasn’t the huge one-time event I’d gotten myself all worked up about. It would be a life-long discussion that would unfold over time. One that God would continue to support us through, if we allowed Him to. It never ceases to amaze me what He can do with a situation if I allow Him to take the wheel and put myself in my rightful spot: the back seat.
I’m happy to report that, though this event was difficult for me as a parent emotionally, we not only survived The Talk, we thrived in the midst of it! In the valleys and on the mountaintops of the special needs parenting journey, He is faithful. He sees us through. He never fails. I can only hope my daughter holds tight to that truth as she ventures further into her own journey.