It doesn't matter that people don't understand your life. They don't have to walk in your shoes. They wouldn't sign up for your menu of life offerings even if you paid them. Sleepless nights (for years...right, Staci C. and Jenny B.), eating therapy because your child eats only 3 foods, tantrums that make MMA sanctioned events look tame, sensory overload everywhere you go, every single day, giving unconditionally until it hurts and then finding out that things can actually get worse. You're practically (if not literally) broke, frustrated, heart broken, stressed beyond words and the last time you showered can be counted on two hands. You make eye contact for two seconds and all of the pains of the previous weeks are wiped clean. That simple act of eye contact is a high like nothing you have ever experienced. Nothing else matters and you are ready to take it all on once again until that next eye contact, whisper, or laugh.
It doesn't matter that you were once a beauty queen, professional athlete, wealth manager, billionaire, top of your class, or the most likely to become President. It doesn't matter that you wear $1,500 shoes, dress in diamonds, are a member of the country club, or sit on the front row at church. It doesn't matter if your parents get it, your siblings understand it, or whether your friends stay or go. It doesn't matter if you had dreams to conquer the world, planned to climb the top 10 peaks around the world, or if you are an Eagle Scout. It doesn't matter if you work on the assembly line or if you own the company, it doesn't matter if you accept it or ignore it. Autism can affect any family and comes without notice or an invitation. You can run, you can ignore the obvious, you can think that "he'll grow out of it" but you have to face the fact that your life's journey is on a new course. The time to step up and take on this new life is now.
Autism will teach you to appreciate the small things in life. You will never look at another human the same way again. You will never look at yourself the same again. You will find out that you are stronger, more capable, and more intelligent than you ever thought you were. Your heart will grow bigger and love more deeply. You have to focus on what matters most and this can be a difficult and sometimes painful process. Ultimately, you have to make the decisions that make the most difference and matter most to you and your family. And the rest... just doesn't matter.