Saturday, April 24, 2010

How AS Blesses Our Family...

Hi. :D I'm a mom of four adorable kids/youth. Two of them are fairly unique to the world's standards. On the outside, they were always much like all the other kids - very cute, and handsome (with exception to some of those awful stages all kids go through where they are maturing and covered with zits etc... :O). But on the inside, they've had their little social quirks that make life very challenging at times, and it is very hard to have challenges that are so real, yet so unapparent to the rest of the world (because you look normal on the outside to everyone except for the trained eye) that everyone expects you to be able to do everything (socially) that the other kids do, and to think and communicate the way the other kids do even when you can't. It is very hard for them; it is also hard for their parents, who know them well and come to realize very early on that they struggle intensely to socialize and fit in - but don't know why or what to do. Some of their social challenges can be difficult to understand. But the older they get, the more they seem to grow out of their quirks, or find ways to cope with them (mine do). It's been a really exciting journey watching them develop into wonderful, and a bit more social, young adults.

Here is a photo of two of my kids in their kindergarten class with the other kindergartners. I won't have to tell you which ones are mine as you will be able to pick them out by the way they held their bodies just a little a bit awkwardly and avoided eye contact due to social discomfort; they are the kids with Aspergers Syndrome. One of them also had the complication of sensory overload to the extent that he would only wear polyester (skin irritations) at the time this photo was taken (the polyester preference lasted around a year or so). (BTY - they did get over avoiding eye contact - for the most part - over time, and one of them talks to people easily now.)

I could tell you so many stories about all the many signs and symptoms they have had over the years and marvel with you that we went so long knowing they had... something... but not knowing what it was. But that is not the point of this post. The point of this post is to tell you how that 'something,' has blessed our family's lives.

From the very beginning, AS has blessed our lives. Long before we even knew it existed, before we had ever heard the name... it was the vehicle of bringing so many blessings into our lives.

At first, the blessings were unapparent. Looking back I can compare our lives to the life of Joseph of Egypt, enduring difficulty after great difficulty, having things happen, which at the time could never seem like blessings - and yet they were; each challenge and difficulty lead to another, and in the end they resulted in great blessings that never would have been possible without the trials. Looking back and seeing how blessed we are now - I am thankful for every ounce of it. As life continues to unfold, evidences are constantly before me, giving me the perspective that everything happens for a reason; and I know that God is over all, and that this is not an accident.

I used to want to "fix" them. I stressed and worried about them when they were little. I wondered what had gone wrong; what I had done wrong? My life was filled with "whys." It was hard. I wanted them to have everything I had; but I didn't realize that they had so much that I didn't have, or that I would have so much more in time because of all that they would give to me. I didn't realize that what they were going through was a blessing to us all.

And I didn't understand all that they do (still don't). They would do things that I simply could not comprehend; it is getting better now that I am learning more about AS. Sometimes we have misunderstandings where the boys and I both think each other is being incredibly rude or mean. It would always shock me to see that while I thought I was behaving perfectly well and good, that one of these boys would think I was being unfair and even mean. And I would think the same of them, when they would not understand why. Our perspectives and ways of thinking are so different. It used to be so frustrating. We all got angry. But God was always there to whisper to my soul and tell me, "They are SO good." Though I agreed wholeheartedly most of the time, it was at these moments when I would ask God, "are you sure you're talking about the same boys?" He assured me that he was. I simply did not understand their language, so I couldn't always see them for who they really were.

My love for them is overflowing. Finally – I can SEE them… more like the way I think God sees them... more like the way they see themselves. It's like the saying goes, that eyes are the windows to the soul; and looking into their eyes, their souls suddenly seem so beautiful, so good.

Would you like to know how our family is being blessed through Aspergers?

*I feel great joy each time these boys let me hug them and kiss their cheeks - without flinching (they rarely ever flinch anymore :). And they hug me every day, and every night before they go to sleep. I can not take it for granted or miss the enjoyment of it - like many other moms do. I am blessed to recognize this privilege as a mother - It took time to get it.

*We have learned that things are seldom as they seem – and not to judge anyone –EVER –

*We have learned that even when things seem obvious, they aren’t.

*We are learning to be more specific so everyone can understand what we are saying. We are learning to make expectations very clear.

*We are learning to try to see people the way they might see themselves… the way God may see them... to give the benefit of the doubt… to love unconditionally, and to realize that we are all in need of being understood.

*Our lives are filled with moments of laughter! :D Having family and friends who do not think in the same way as you do – can lead to lot of laughter and good clean fun! :D A sense of humor is a very cherished character trait!!! - We are so blessed!!!

*We are learning to not take anything for granted; milestones are milestones and should be celebrated - regardless of the timetable.

*Those of us who are naturally oversensitive are learning to grow thicker skins and to not allow ourselves to be easily hurt or offended. This makes for a much happier and more relaxed social life! :)

*We are learning to be kind, even when it seems that another is not being kind to us.

*We are learning that there are different perspectives and different ways of looking at everything, and that our way isn't always the only, or the best, way to think. We are learning that things go better when we seek first to understand, and then to be understood.

*We are better people because of all we learn from one another.

*We are happier. Life is more interesting and exciting when you have goals and challenges to overcome.

Imagine all that we will continue to learn and become through this blessing of Aspergers! I am overwhelmed by the blessings Aspergers brings into our lives!

Do you have blessings that you recognize as a result of challenges in your lives? I would love to hear about them! :D


  1. Hey You, Loved your article about the boys. It was informational and personal. It was real. I like to read "REAL" posts. We don't always see the blessings in life but God has a plan. I'm sure of it.

  2. I'll never forget the first time Levi hugged me (on his own) and the first time he told me, "I love you". Fewer things have been more joyful. I can relate to so many things you wrote. From one mother to another, I applaud you. This journey is a blessed journey.

  3. J - Thanks. I love "real" posts, too. It's nice to know you're not the only one whose life has thorns as well as roses.
    R - So cool! I agree; fewer things are more joyful. It is moments like these that make the rough days worth it all... and then some! WE AE SO BLESSED!! PS. I applaud you, too. ;)

  4. Good for you! I love that you are emphasizing joy in the journey. (Found you from your post on Living A Big Story.)

  5. Thanks, Mary! :) And WELCOME to my blog! It is always so exciting to find a new bloggie friend. :)

    PS. The longer I go through life, the more I LOVE the blessings which come as a result of challenging experiences. There is so much MORE JOY where there are challenges to overcome and learn from!!!
    Corine :D


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