Having a 12 year old with autism has brought boy joy and pain. When Noah is happy, there is extreme joy; when Noah is upset, it is extreme as well.
When he was born, 12 long years ago, something told me from the very start that something was very wrong. His daddy thought I was being paranoid, and did not want to consider that something could be wrong with our first-born.
After many years tests, having more children, we both became convinced that Noah was different than his peers. It was heartbreaking as his mommy and daddy to have to adjust our hopes and dreams for our son, to realize that what we had thought would be a typical childhood and adult years, seemed so far from our grasp.
Over the years, Noah has had many ups and downs.
Today was his first day of 6th grade. Next year he moves on to the middle school/high school where he will come into contact with many people who have not seen him develop in elementary school. The elementary school and kids in it have all grown up together. Thankfully his 6th grade friends now understand that Noah needs some extra help and many have been willing to reach out to him.
It was not always like this. Kids are cruel, even when their parents are raising them not to be.
So many times, I would hear kids taunt and tease Noah, knowing that these children were being cruel, but Noah never understood. Noah has never been invited to a birthday party for one of the boys in his classroom, in 6 years. He's never been invited on a play-date to spend one-on-one time with a friend. As his momma, this just breaks my heart. It hurts to the deepest depths of my soul, knowing that Noah is different, loving him even more fiercely, but knowing that I cannot "fix" this for him.
And so we enter into 6th grade, relieved that his peers are maturing and becoming more compassionate, but knowing that there is rejection and pain around every corner just because Noah is different.
It makes us redefine our goals as parents. I used to think that being a successful parent meant children who loved Jesus, well-adjusted children, college, jobs and children of their own. Wow, was my desires for my children off.
For our children, our hopes our two-fold: to loves Jesus as much as their brains and hearts can understand and to find a career or job that makes them feel fulfilled. If Noah is fulfilled by something very basic, well then praise the Lord! He can be content and find fulfillment in this. If Zoe or Ephram want to do something completely different, than great. I want she and Ephram to be committed followers of Christ and to find joy and satisfaction in life.
Please be praying for us as we continue to be molded into the parents God calls us to be. Pray that we can see the long-term truths we are trying to instill in them as well as the joy they bring us just being children. My biggest prayer today is that Noah's heart continues to be completely oblivious to the hurt and rejection going on around him, that he finds joy in playing with his grandpa, joy in his swing-set, joy in the everyday parts of life. God is able.