Six years ago today James spent an hour or so with a psychologist, speech therapist, and occupational therapist. After playing with him and talking to him, they left the room. When they came back a few minutes later they told us he had autism. I exhaled and Lee inhaled. We grieved and then got to work. (That’s the short version of course. The long version of the story is in my book Speechless if you’re interested.)
A couple weeks ago I turned to Lee and said, “Right now could be our easiest season.” “Oh, don’t say that,” he replied, but we know it’s true.
Last year at this time I wrote it was our hardest season since getting James’s diagnosis. His anxiety was high, he didn’t seem to like school, he had new self-injurious behavior like pulling out his hair and hitting himself (like 50 times a day).
But this school year has been much better. He’s happier and more relaxed. He’s sleeping well and eating well overall. He has favorite places to go and people to see.
Those who sow in tears will reap with shouts of joy. Psalm 126:5
We’ve had seasons of tears and seasons of joy. We know we’ll cycle back through seasons of tears again. Who knows what puberty will bring for James. Or if school will change and be hard again. But right now there is joy and we’re not taking it for granted.
It seems strange to say we’re celebrating six years of autism, but we are celebrating all God has brought us through in the last six years.
We are thankful for how He has blessed us this year with a good school experience, churches who care for him, four grandparents in good health (two who live close enough to visit every week), David being at school with James and the evolving relationship they have, and James’s good health.
We will celebrate this easy season and not worry about when the next hard season will hit. Like the daily bread we’re taught to pray for, today’s blessings sustain us and we are thankful for them.