April is Autism Awareness Month. While the month is generally focused on raising awareness and funds in support of these families, it can be an emotional time for those who are living the ASD journey. When a fellow Mom on this path shared a beautiful moment she experienced with her family on Sunday, I felt it deep in my soul. With her gracious permission, I am sharing it with you today. Her story so poignantly expresses an example of the multiple perspectives of this interconnected journey which we travel daily… In this snapshot of time, the isolation, the helplessness, the ferocity of love, hope and pride are all powerfully experienced.

If you’re anything like me, yesterday was an extra emotional day. So I had to share this story. After dinner last night, my NT 7 year old daughter was drawing on a dry erase board. My ASD son was telling her what to draw… silly things … typical fecal humor stuff.  When my daughter asked “what should I draw you doing?”

My son erases the board and tells her, “draw me alone cuz I’m lost.”
I stopped what I was doing and asked him why he wanted his sister to draw him that way. My daughter and I kind of shared a look, but predictably he couldn’t explain why. So my daughter starts drawing and this picture is what she drew.

Then she says “you’ll never get lost Ty, you’ve got us.”
Obviously I had to leave the room for a few minutes! When I think about siblings of children with autism, I think of sacrifice, I think of, because of circumstances, having to grow up a little faster than their peers. I think of the guilt we feel as parents on days where our ASD child consumes so much of us, we feel like we have nothing left to give to our other kiddos. I curse this journey all the time, and it’s easy to forget that ALL our kids are on it with us. I’m so proud of my daughter for making this picture, for it’s also because of this journey that I know my son’s sister and brother will grow up to be a little more compassionate, a little more patient and understanding, a little more willing to look for the beauty in others, a little more willing to accept that love is UNCONDITIONAL. And hopefully a little more willing to fight for what’s right. Take comfort in this mommas! Has to count for something, right?
When I launched LoveU2Pieces in 2009, I had spent my previous two years graduating with my Ph.D. in counseling, getting married, and becoming a mother of two. When my son was diagnosed with ASD, it’s no secret why the family as a whole was front of mind. As my team discussed the need for our organization, we had these thoughts:
Raising a child on the autism spectrum brings with it a unique set of challenges… Not just for the child, but for parents, siblings and friends. By helping provide respite care, family and community education, and opportunities for connection, LoveU2Pieces is committed to putting a focus on fighting the autism battle by supporting the families living with it every day.
I can – and do – share research, strategies and tips with you… But these – the life stories – they are meaningful awareness, they are ways of connecting, they are motivation to move from living to thriving.

Thank you to Tiffany for allowing me to share this moment with you.