March 19, 2007 by Marj Hatzell
How is it possible that the one thing in my life that brings me the greatest heartache could make me so proud and happy at the same time?
Yet, it is true. The one thing, the part of my life that brings me the greatest joy, the thing that I think about in all of my waking moments is also what makes me heartache with true pain and causes me to worry quite needlessly.
I think you know what I am talking about. My children.
They make me happier than anything every could. No object, amount of money or, dare I say, even food makes me as happy as holding and loving my children. They are literally sunshine on a cloudy day. Even a day like Friday. When they wake up in the morning and stretch their arms out to hug me I suddenly gain 1,000 points of energy. When I go into Bugaboo’s room in the morning to kiss his cheek and get him out of bed he is instantly smiling and beaming at me from ear to ear with a smile that radiates warmer than the sun. Bug Boy’s hugs are like no one else. He holds you like he will never let go.
Despite the joy they give me and my attempts to forget about the painful moments they are still there, looming over me at times. Almost as if the painful parts are whispering, “Don’t forget about me! You aren’t supposed to be this happy!” And yet I am. Once in a while the pain and sadness consumes me and I have a mini-pity party for myself. I give up on house work. I “forget” to cook dinner. I ignore friends’ phone calls. I cry when Darling returns home and he holds me and looks surprised that I am feeling that way. He does not quite know what to do.
There is nothing to do. I think part of healing, part of learning to live with things that cause me pain, part of learning to accept things that I cannot change, is going through cycles of feelings. I have to experience the sadness, pain and sorrow so that I truly know what joy feels like. Without having the “bad times” to reference, how could I possibly enjoy the good times? I would not appreciate them half as much if I had not taken two steps back before I was able to move forward. In order for me to be content I feel that part of the package is to grow and understand and accept. I must learn patience (oh boy, do I!) and strength. I have to learn love.
I know there are many rough times ahead. I cannot even begin to imagine what it will be like for us but I know it will come. I will be as prepared for it as I can possible be. But I will not dwell on it. I will not let it consume my life and worry about it to the point that I cannot allow myself to be happy now. What a waste of time! Life is so short and I am not going to live it with my head down, afraid of the next thing to come around the corner. We have been through so much already. Although I thought (at the time) that I would never get through those difficult moments, I can now look back and appreciate them for making me who I am today. I am not the nervous Nelly I once was. I am not the naive girl who allows others to make decisions for her and tells her what to do in every circumstance for fear of making a mistake. Gone are the days where I sought out everyone’s approval before I could come to terms with a situation. Now Darling and I face them head on (as he always has! He is my strength!) and just deal with it. That is all anyone can do. There is no changing this thing.
There are people in this world that want to cure Autism. That is their prerogative, I am not going to change their minds. I just wish they would stop all of these expensive, insurance-won’t-pay-for-it types of treatments. There are so many “experts” out there to take advantage of parents who are desperate, sad, stressed, impatient and hopeless. I wish I could tell them all that there is hope! There is happiness! There is light at the end of this tunnel! Autism is NOT a death sentence. Now, it is not easy. No one ever said it would be. But you will learn to appreciate life so much more because of it. You can be content! You can find peace!
There are no guarantees in life. You get what you get and you have to deal with it and move on. There are certain things that are in your control and certain things that are not. It takes wisdom and patience to understand the difference. I can guarantee you will be much happier once you learn the difference. It just takes time.