Sharing Your Story
We have always been pretty open sharing our story about our son’s diagnosis of Autism and the struggles we went through; but we shared it with family and friends. It was safe, we were vulnerable… sharing with strangers felt like in intrusion into our personal lives.
And then last Thursday happened…
I shared My Story
Last week my son had swimming lessons; they did not go well. He did nothing for two weeks. The last day of lessons came and my attitude was sour and ugly. I did not want to take him and sit there for 30 minutes watching him do nothing. And honestly, if I had not paid good money for it, I would have not taken him. But I went. And something amazing happened!
We arrived at the pool early. I decided I had enough. I took my son into the kiddie pool, let him play for a few minutes, rolled up my pants, climbed in, and made him do a back float (something he was scared to do). It was like that saying sink or swim. He finally did it, I felt like a mean mother, and I sent him to his lesson.
I sat on the bench and after a while a grandmother came and sat down next to me. I did the polite quick smile, something you should do according to culture standards, though I did not feel like smiling and making small talk. I wanted to just be left alone.
As I sat there watching my son, a smile crept on my face. He was not only participating, he was doing EVERYTHING! Floats, bubbles, bobs, he did it! I admit, I may have had tears in my eyes! The lady next to me laughed and made some sweet comment about him. I just smiled, pulled out my phone to distract myself, while watching my son every few seconds. I was one proud mama… but really this is not what the purpose of this post is about…
My son came over to me and I told him I was so proud of him for all his hard work and after lessons we could celebrate by going to ice cream. His only reply, “Did I do my bobs mom?” I replied yes and he went on his way to go down the water slides. The lady next to me commented how cute that was…
Now at this point normally I would have found an excuse to leave or simply distract myself on my phone, but I found myself spewing out about his Autism and our story. Half way through I wanted to slap myself silly for spilling all this information at her- a perfect stranger. I explained what I do as a career and this is where I suddenly realized why I was doing this… she looked at me, tears in her eyes, and stated, “My son is 31 years old and was just diagnosed with Aspergers a few years ago.” Stunned.
It All Comes Together for Good
The lady proceeded to explain briefly her son’s story. I listened carefully while still watching my son and his grand achievements. The story was intriguing and I realized at that point, while listening to this lady speak from her heart, I opened up to this lady so SHE could open up to me. She needed this time and opportunity to talk. And I was privileged and blessed to listen to her.
My story helped inspire this lady to open up. So is that why I shared my story? Maybe. What did I learn from this experience? God’s plan is perfect; maybe I will never see this lady again or her son, but I touched her heart and made an impact. Will I share my story again with a stranger? I do not know, maybe, if the time was right and it can bring some benefit to someone. Or if it was just simply laid on my heart again, like it was this time.
What is my Point?
I encourage you out there who are parents of a child with Autism- share your story! You never know who you can bless with your story, or you may meet someone who can help you in some way. Be an encouragement to someone. Use your story to help people!
Why did God give us a son with Autism? I do not know, but I know this, we can help teach others, bless others, and in turn bless ourselves.