My son, Ben, was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 2.
After his diagnosis, my life stopped.
The life I had expected, anyway.
I went from planning my next baby to learning the ropes of Autism parenting.
For me that looked like diving into the research, consulting experts, trying new therapies and interventions and always, always wondering if I could be doing more.
This took a toll on me, and it took a toll on my parenting experience.
Instead of looking at my perfect, beautiful son as the miracle he was (and is), I was looking at him like a “work in progress”.
Instead of focusing on his strengths, I was focused on his deficits.
Instead of loving every minute of my time with him, I spent it worrying about his future.
I probably would have continued this for years, if it weren’t for Ben pulling the hair of a little girl named Sammy in his pre-school class.
I was terrified that Sammy’s parents would insist on Ben’s removal from the class, so I decided to do damage control by calling them directly, explaining the situation, and apologizing.
Good thing I braced myself, because what the father said blew me away:
“I am so sorry to hear that your son is struggling. Sammy’s brother, Jake, died of brain cancer when he was 4 years old, and it breaks my heart to see any child who is struggling.”
In that moment of simultaneous heartbreak and gratitude, everything shifted for me. Their son was dead, and my son was alive and right in front of me. Yes, he struggled in so many ways, but he was right here for me to love.
I vowed that I would continue to work my hardest for Ben’s best possible outcome, but not at the expense of enjoying and loving the child right in front of me, exactly as he is.
From that point on, I made it my job to celebrate all of Ben’s successes, no matter how ordinary they were, or how much time it took him to achieve them.
✅ I threw a Poop Party for a 5 year old
✅ I shared his Ben-isms (MY-PAD, NetClicks) with anyone who would listen
✅ I bought him a Lego set when he (finally) stopped interchanging the letters “b” and “d” making it sound like he was constantly telling people to “dye”.
I have never regretted a moment I spent loving on my child, and neither will you.
It is not either/or; it is both/and. You can do all the things to support your child’s development AND love them exactly as they are.
When you learn to do this, it is the most freeing act of love for both you and your child.
Give it a try!
P.S. If you are struggling to enjoy time with your child because you are constantly spinning in fear of their future, I can help you feel better NOW. Book your complimentary consultation call here. We will talk about the thoughts and the emotions keeping you in pain, and how my program can help you drop your painful stories and show up for the child you love in the best way possible.
P.P.S. If you have not already, grab “The 7 Truths Every Autism Mom Needs to Know” here.