If you had told me 6 years ago that I would one day have the desire to work with special needs kids, I probably would've laughed in your face. It's not because I disliked them, it's more of I didn't know how to act around them, what to say and how to be. The past 6 years of my life has changed me. When I see a special needs child now, all I want to do is go talk to them and hopefully, somehow, make their life a little better. I guess that's what being a special needs mom does to you. It seems to give you compassion for people that are different.
I was knocked off my feet when I found out Jacob had autism. I felt like all I had ever hoped for was being torn out of my arms slowly by some dreadful monster. All I could do was sit and watch as my sweet son struggled with life. I went through bouts of hating God, hating people who had typical kids and blaming myself for my son's struggles. It wasn't a very pretty time for me and there are still some days that I deal with these emotions. I call it my "grieving" day. I don't think the grieving process ever goes away, you just learn to deal with it and move on.
Jacob's taught me more about life and love than anyone else could. I guess the main thing he's taught me is to look at the simple things in life. He doesn't worry what others think of him, he just is who he is and that makes me so happy. It reminds me of the "Friends" episode where Phoebe is running through the park with Rachel. Phoebe looks ridiculous in the way she runs with her arms flapping all over the place and Rachel's embarrassed to be seen with her. At the end of the episode Rachel realizes that it's more fun to run freely like Phoebe does and not get so worried about what others think and so they sprint off together looking ridiculous, disregarding all the crazy stares. I feel like I'm watching me and Jacob when I watch that episode, probably because Jacob actually runs like that, but mainly because he seems so free to be himself. I wish I didn't have the "what does everyone think of me" mentality. I wish I felt free to be me.
He's also taught me that just because life doesn't turn out like your picture perfect dream when you were little, doesn't mean that it's not wonderful. My life is absolutely nothing like I thought it would be, or should be, but it's still great. Is it hard? Heck yeah, But I'd rather have Jacob with autism than not have him at all.
He's also given me the opportunity to know and understand completely what unconditional love is all about. As a little girl you think unconditional love is beautiful and lovely. I've come to realize that it's not like that at all! Unconditional love is hard, frustrating and makes you more mad than you ever thought you could be. I've never known anyone else who can make my blood boil and make life sugary sweet all in a matter of seconds.
I know that Jacob will continue to teach me things about myself and the life that God has given me. I'm learning to roll with the punches and live life to the fullest with one of the most precious kids I've ever met!