Introduction

Autism is not a word that I ever thought I would use this often in my life.

 

Growing up I was not comfortable being uncomfortable. It’s not something I am proud of, but I was not the person who worked around, or with, disabilities. I had disabilities in my extended family and I knew children in my school who had autism or other forms of behaviour concerns, but I avoided them at all costs. Call it irony, but now here I am writing the introduction to a series of blogs about dealing with Autism over the last decade. To be totally transparent, I am still not comfortable with it, but kids have a way of changing everything.

 

Writing these blogs, I believe, was therapy for me. If they end up helping others in coping or dealing with autism then I am glad to help, but I don’t regret stating that this is mainly for me. My wife and I have seen a lot over the last decade, and in our story, we have most likely seen it twice. When people ask how we are doing, I have gotten really good at using the word, “surviving”. Because we do feel that way many hours per day, not all, but many. Autism is not something that you are happy with occuring in your family, but it is something that you learn to live with and “enjoy the small things”. This might as well have been the title, enjoy the small things, or simple moments.

 

Over the following blogs you are going to learn a lot about not only myself and my wife, but our two autistic sons Ashton and Trystan. Some things will make you laugh, some cry, and some cringe (trust me you will). It is funny, but I feel like I have lived way longer than my driver’s licence says I have these last years. I am a few hairs down, and the ones that are left are turning bright white. I am definitely going to blame this on my life. I have learned over time to not blame my kids for what has occurred in our lives, but my lack of hair is on them. The rest is just circumstance.

 

I want to thank my wife before I get too long down into the journey. Actually, going back to irony, she was a special needs teacher before we had special needs children. She was significantly more educated and experienced in what was about to happen to us back then. I was a fish out of water (still feel like I am most days). I don’t want to use the corny term “she is my rock”, but trust me, she is the only reason the boat is still sailing. From the first day she told me her concerns, to the diagnosis, to today, she is the only reason our kids are doing as well as they are. I honestly feel like a bystander a lot of days. Her ability to do what she does on a daily and handle the emotional weight of having children that will have a different future than most, is not only commendable but is also love. She is the reason we are still “surviving” as both a couple and as parents.

 

To our family, we appreciate everything you do and are trying to do. We understand that you didn’t sign up for this roller coaster along with us, but more often than not you get the same ups and downs. I hope that you can share in some of the stories that come out of this and remember the small moments. Even when Ashton continually shows you to the door because you are not on the schedule, you learned to take the punches as they come. Our boys are lucky to have all of their grandparents, just not when they don’t think you should be there (don’t take it to heart).

 

And lastly, please keep in mind that I am a very transparent person when it comes to life. Not everything in these blogs will be motivational and heart-warming. Our lives are hard, and if you want to hear that “Autism is a blessing” or “we are lucky”, these are not the words for you. Although our boys are different, it does not mean we enjoy the situation we are in. So, remember two things throughout the pages.

 

I love my sons.

 

Our life is different.