What is perfect?
Is it growing up in a house with a white picket fence?
Is it growing up in a well to do family?
Is it living a life with no pain, flaw, or sadness?
You could have all of that and still life wouldn’t be perfect.
Life is messy. It’s sad, it’s happy. There’s grief and pain.
But is the grief of losing someone the same as grief when receiving an autism diagnosis for your child?
No, in my opinion, I don’t believe it is. I have never grieved my living son. I have grieved close family members who have died.
Some would beg to differ on this subject. There are those who grieve the child they thought they would have. My child is living. He is healthy and he is happy. I’m not grieving a child that is alive.
Why as a society are we hung up on a perfect and normal life?
Why must our children be a certain way and when they’re born differently, that that is a cause to grieve? Why are we so quick to add a negative stigma to their differences instead of acknowledging that despite their differences, are still a worthy and perfect as they were born human being?
Before my son, Oakley, was born, before I even knew he was autistic, I would tell myself I will love this child no matter what. If he were to have special needs. If he were to come out as gay. If he didn’t want to get married or have children. I would love him and accept him. Was it hard in the days leading up to his diagnosis and after? Yes it was. It was an adjustment and a life we had to adapt to. It did not mean our life had ended. In fact, it had just begun and we had no idea the awe filled and breathtaking life we were about to embark on.
My life is far from normal. It isn’t perfect. But I would be lying if I said I wasn’t blessed. My family is blessed beyond belief and we still aren’t perfect. It’s imperfectly perfect. If it hadn’t been for all of the imperfections and mistakes of our lives thus far, we wouldn’t have the blessings we have today.
One of those blessings is our son Oakley.
Oakley is seven years old. He is autistic. He is different from his peers. He didn’t develop typically.
And he is perfect in every way.