This picture is really old. It wasn't a pose; it wasn't staged - it was taken at a moment, like many moments of my life, when I just pray quietly, asking to find a way to live this new life I have now. I do this pretty much all the time, anytime, every day. If praying gets you to heaven, my ticket is ready...and this is all because I have a son who happens to be in the Autism Spectrum.
People tell me very often that I am a special person and that's why God sent Frankie to me - it's the total opposite. I wasn't special at all before I had Frankie. Truthfully, I am not special now if you ask me; I am just like any other parent who is facing a more challenging task than the parents of a typical child. There is one thing we do have in common: feeling overwhelmed! If you don't believe in something bigger than yourself, it's pretty much inevitable to sink deep into desperation but if you enlist the "big man" on your team, things do get a little easier.
All of my kids have been a blessing in my life and I am grateful for this. Although Frankie's special needs have been difficult to adjust to, it's because of Frankie I am more patient now. Because of Frankie I am more tolerant. Because of Frankie I don't judge. Because of Frankie I live day by day, like we are supposed to do anyway, making each moment count. I treasure the good days because they are glorious and I pray through the hard days because they are dark and I need to make it to the next one.
I must confess that although I pray constantly, I don't make it to church very often. It makes it a little hard sometimes to cope with one hour in the quiet room...It doesn't help either that your child is not welcomed in Sunday School because he is too distracting to the other kids. I'm not complaining, I am just saying that life doesn't fall into place smoothly for our special kiddos - even at church, where everyone should be welcomed. It's the truth and I won't sugar-coat either, still, I don't worry about how "churchy" I am or not - I honestly believe that God still gives me brownie points for trying. He knows I need Him. I know I need Him. This is more powerful than any homily I can listen to sitting on a church pew. God's gospel is alive in my life and there is no other way to describe my living arrangements: I live in the hands of the Lord and that's where my family belongs.
Our Autistic kids are here to make us better, to give us that extra push, to move us from being average to becoming great. We probably needed them more than they needed us and there is a God above who decided to match us in heaven because we probably had no hope otherwise. I believe this from the bottom of my heart and it comes to my mind every time I can't help my kid get over a meltdown. I no longer look for a cure to Autism; it's not an illness, it's a condition...like all conditions, I want Frankie to learn how to live with it, own it, control it and thrive in spite of it. That's a lot to wish for, I know it, but I am getting good at praying; practice makes perfect!