Autism is…Joy in Small Things


April 16, 2012 by Marj Hatzell

If there’s one thing I needed in my life twelve years ago, it was an attitude adjustment (TWELVE YEARS? ACK!).

I was flying high, not a care in the world. I was impatient, impulsive, immature. I complained about first world problems, didn’t appreciate what I had in my life and saw the glass half empty more often than half full. If there’s one thing I learned over the past twelve years it is patience. Be careful what you wish for, by the way. I always prayed for patience. I knew I needed to learn it. AND BOY HOWDY, LESSON LEARNED.

I’m type-A all the way, yo. Energy, emotion? I gots it. Bug Boy is a carbon copy of me. Heart on his sleeve (well, you know, except for when you need to know something important) and an external processor. Bugaboo is more like his father: quiet, laid-back, introspective.

One of the biggest learning curves? Besides the PATIENCE? Learning to appreciate the little things in life. Silver linings. Blessings. Glass is full. Whatever you wanna call it. I learned it.

I used to look at my life and I was sad because of the things that were missing. I didn’t look at the big picture. I didn’t realize how full my life was and I certainly didn’t think everyday ordinary things were anything to celebrate.

Let’s just say my perspective has changed a wee bit.

No, my life isn’t easy. I don’t get everything I want, for sure. I do, however, have what I need. My family is happy (though we have our share of speed bumps). My boys are thriving and growing and progressing every single day. They are healthy. They are loved. They don’t totally hate me (yet). I have a roof over my head. I have two goofy dogs. A fabulous, supportive family. Good educations for my children. A wonderful neighborhood. Seriously, I have it good.

Yes, we struggle. I don’t get adequate sleep. But I have a big, comfy bed to sleep in. My house is messy and things are broken. But my husband is magical and knows how to fix sh*t. And he fixes a lot of sh*t. My kid may not talk, but he has things to say. And he’s learning to communicate.

See, I realized a long time ago it ain’t the big things in life that make you happy. Money is nice but it only goes so far. A decent car is good but it doesn’t wrap its arms around you when you are sad. I’d looooooove new floors but what we have now works. For now.

It’s the little things, people. Bug Boy has grown and matured so much. He is not the same boy he was five years ago when he began school. He is confident, happy and full of love for learning. He is inquisitve. He is thoughtful. He has compassion. He wants to take care of me, of his brother and Dad, of his pets. I couldn’t be a prouder Momma.  But this puberty…having trouble APPRECIATING it. See.

Bugaboo is doing much better than he was three years ago. And even though we had a recent rough patch (WHOA) we made it through. We’re starting to see improvements every single day. He is happy again. Smiling. Starting to do the things he loves again. SLEEPING. Every ounce of it I celebrate. Every little step. Every little thing he does. Like this:

That kid is pure joy, I tells ya. How could you be angry and bitter after seeing that?

Our journeys are different. Your mileage may vary. Me? I choose joy. Life is to short to be angry and sad and bitter. And while I  feel those things once in a while (Ok, more often than that, I AM human, after all), my boys deserve a Momma who is happy. They deserve a family who can get through the tough stuff and still find joy. It isn’t easy. It’s just what I chose to do a long time ago.

Yep, things suck sometimes.

But the joy in the small things? That’s what gets me through the tough times.

8 thoughts on “Autism is…Joy in Small Things

  1. Bec Oakley says:

    Coming out of the crickety closet to say thank you. What a beautiful video – this post is a wonderful reminder that yes, joy is a choice. You might have to keep making that choice every single damn day, but it’s always an option. No matter how much you have on your plate. I like that thought, it makes me feel powerful. So, thanks!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I agree 100%. It’s only when you become a parent that you realise what’s important. And being a parent also teaches acceptance. When I was younger all I wanted was material items that meant nothing. Now all I want is for my son to be happy and have a good day at school.

    • I often say that parenting taught me unconditional love for the first time. You are SUPPOSED to love your partner that way but honestly, I know it’s harder. But loving your children? It has to be unconditional. At least, it should be.

  3. Stephanie says:

    A beautiful reminder. Thank you.

  4. Dawn says:

    if life didn’t suck sometimes, we wouldn’t know how absolutely awesome it really is! Gotta take the good with the bad, i always say. I’m a big fan of living in the “now”–i don’t think too far ahead of maybe a month or so. ANd i try to think of the past NEVER. you know what matters? this cup of coffee, blog trolling and 15 minutes of piece until i have to wake the boy… <—-happy

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