Far from understanding the diagnosis. Coping yet overwhelmed with what it all means. Drowning in guilt, loneliness & anxiety. Fear of the present. Uncertainties of the future. Financial woes. Disrespect. Non-acceptance. Communication guessing games. Routine but covering all bases for possible deviations. Milestones delayed. Special Ed jargon – too complex, interpreter needed. Exhaustion. Exhaustion. Exhaustion. Walking out the door expecting to inhale the aroma of humanity but instead you breathe in the toxic air of pity, horror, disgust, curiosity & mockery of onlookers whose ignorance unknowingly drives you to fight even harder. One, some or all in a day of an autism parent. . . . or maybe not. Many I have not begun to touch the surface of what their day encompasses. These however have been the stop & go signs on our autism journey. I try to make the best of our situation without the obvious grievances but there are times when reality turns my face away from the positive and our hearts slump down to an all time low. None can be revealed though. We’ve dressed in an attire of strength and the very sights of weakness on our parts are deemed inappropriate. Our brokenness would seemingly inflict more pain on ourselves or somehow distort the very atmosphere where our loved ones live. . . .but if truth be told, exhaling releases some aching, as well as, opens us up to accepting what we cannot change and seeing more clearly the endless possibilities. And even though the tries, the failures, & the barely above water day to day have imparted more than our soul can obtain, somehow patience, perseverance and hope have been birthed. Surprisingly. . . especially when all we thought could really exist were the frustrations, the tears & the pain. For me, autism life has partly been screams of unheard. But for every sail in a sea of unknown comes a rescue crew of knowledge. . .and knowledge is applied to the journey. . .and the journey is the canvas for the experience. . .and the experience prepares you for the story to tell. The challenges & the rewards. Not one without the other, and at times, not the same day or the same year. But this adventure we call life keeps us on our toes, not knowing where we go from here, but I hold hope in one hand and my son’s in the other as we take each day with stride.