I was thinking about ways we’ve been affected by becoming the parents of an autistic child:
There are so many – but here are just a couple of things I’ve been thinking about lately in particular:
1.) “Living is easy with eyes closed…”
Many years ago, I lived life with blinders on. Children with autism, cancer, birth defects, and other diseases and disabilities were just something that happened to OTHER people. I’d hear about it, think “oh, that’s so sad…” then go back to whatever else I was doing.
Now I know (and live constantly with the knowledge) that that could be us. It forces you to live your life in a very different way. It causes you to see those same stories now – and actually act to do something to help instead of just contemplating it. Nothing is taken for granted, and we very much live in the moment. Having been on both sides of the fence, I can honestly say it’s a happier way of being.
2.) “The Butterfly Effect”
Everything we do and say affects others. This was not a concept I thought anything about before we had Lila. I did what I wanted, when I wanted to do it. Go to the bathroom, open a bag of chips, leave the house at the drop of a hat, clean the house, etc. I am now acutely aware of what I am doing at all times, and how it affects others.
Seemingly simple actions such as opening a door, using a hair dryer, or trying to vacuum the house can send her into a sensory meltdown. It causes us to always be (at all times) very aware of the potential consequences of our actions.
Like I said, there are many ways we’ve been affected by Lila being autistic, these are just two of them. And both also happen to make us better human beings. Amidst all of the inevitable challenges we go through on a daily basis, there is so much light, love, and hope. I am always grateful for the lessons she is constantly teaching us.