Today I’m grateful for Autism

This morning Casey was SO giggly. There’s a sweet little point where Casey’s giggle escalates into a laughter that graduates to a cackle. It’s the very sound of life’s sweetness. 
I’m grateful for the cackle. I’m grateful for every little giggle. Things that are fought for, or that sometimes seem rare are the sweetest when you finally get them. Like Casey’s laughter. 
It’s been a rough couple of months for him. Autism sucks. I’ve said that a lot lately. Then this morning I was thinking about what I’ve learned from Casey. I’ll back up. It started with a facebook status/vent. It went like this: 
Saturday is World Autism Day. I’m planning on celebrating it by ignoring all social cues, telling people exactly what I think about them, flapping my arms and freaking out when I don’t get to do what I want to do the minute I want to do it. You?

  What followed was our own version of what autistic like things we were going to be doing to celebrate the day. I have a couple of friends with kids with autism who posted along with a couple of my friends who posted things that they’ve seen Casey do. It was funny. It was sad. It was cathartic. Here’s a few:

Heather J: Same. Perhaps demand to take baths at other people’s homes, insist on mac and cheese, and quote sponge bob. Other than that. Same.

 Me: Someone is going to have to hold me down to get me to brush my teeth. I’m going to wake up at five and yell “Make me some Mac N’ Cheese” on the top of my lungs over and over again until someone does. Then I’m going to spend the rest of the day naked and make sure ALL the neighbors and anyone who stops by sees.

Tammy S: At my house we demand foot massages and watch Pixar movies over and over! We do baths too. 🙂

Me: ooh yeah. I’m going to rip my shirt off every once in a while and say “ITCH ME”. So awesome. I can’t wait. We’re going to watch “Up” seventeen times.

Erin: I’ll be at your house at 2 a.m. on my super suit and demand a bath. 

Pat: I’m going to cry and scream for at least an hour because the teacher gave me a sad face in my daily progress folder at school. 

Des H:   Im celebrating by waking up @ 430 demanding waffles with syrup if the squares on the waffles are not equally all filled with the syrup then im going to have a total melt down. to calm myself ill put on my puffy earmuffs and forget to even eat my waffle because im too busy staring out the window with two forks on my eyes. If it were summer i would go out side and reenact the jungle book movie by singing and eating ants off a stick. but its still cold and so ill probably just stay in and line up my dinosaurs end to end all over the house. then ill hang hair things on all of the light switches. And if I dont get my bath right when its demanded, ill stick my hair in the toilet and flush it over and over.

Sarah Awesome: I’m going to demand we watch The People’s Court, go to K-Mart for new underwear, and then Vegas to count cards, like Raymond Babbitt. Ohh and then in honor of Case, I will shove roller hockey balls in people’s tail pipes. 😉

 Then I thought about all of the things that Casey does that I don’t mention enough:

I’m going to change your life. I’m going to make you grateful for every little milestone that I’ve struggled so hard to reach. I’m going to make you cry and scream and laugh and jump up and down the first time I call you ‘mom’ and make your insides do that every time I tell you that I love you by saying only, “so much”. I’m going to make you grateful for prayer every single day. I’m going to love you in ways that are hard to see, but are no less significant or wonderful. I’m going to teach you how to be patient and I’m going to show you true forgiveness. I’m going to show you what true happiness is. I’m going to change the world.

I’m grateful for autism. I’m grateful for the person it’s made me. I’m grateful for the hard times because it makes the sweet times a million times better.

I call autism “The Great Friend Sifter” because it sifts out the Great Friends from the Less Than Great Friends. I’m grateful for the Great friends who are left. For anyone who has put up with me flaking out on them a million times. For anyone who loves Casey and sees him for who he really is.

It’s made me more grateful for my family and for Lance’s. Who pray for Casey and would stop at nothing to help him.

Autism has made me grateful for good neighbors who treat him like a regular kid while a the same time keeping a special eye on him, and chasing him down the road when I’m not there.

Because of Casey’s autism I’ve been able to meet the best teachers, bus drivers and para-educators out there. People who love these kids even when they are hard.

Casey’s autism has taught me that I’m a lot tougher than I ever thought. That I could go on less sleep than I probably should. That I could love more than I ever thought possible.

But most of all, Casey’s autism has shown me that God exists. He’s there. That my prayers are heard and that I am never alone. It’s shown me that what God has planned for me is way better than I could have ever planned for myself. I know He had a hand in me forcing Lance to marry me. Lance is the perfect dad for Casey. The best husband for me. I could have never known that going into the marriage how much I’d need him. That even though things can be tough for a moment, the reward in the end is so much sweeter when we’ve made it through.

And mark my words, Casey is going to change the world.

10 thoughts on “Today I’m grateful for Autism

  1. Lexi, you're a great Mom. Casey is so lucky to have someone so patient and willing to learn. I was just having this discussion with my Mom on Sat about children with special needs and how hard it is for some to accept them or be flexible. You're flexible, you're always ready and even if you're not always prepared for what Casey throws at you (literally or figuratively). You know how to adapt and learn. Heavenly Father knew that when he sent you Casey (and Abby). Casey is changing the world, he's opening the eyes of people who have had negative thoughts or no knowledge of how to deal with autism. He's changing the world,one heart at a time. He's a good kid and this was a good post. Good work Magnusson.-Sarah Awesome

  2. Oh Lexi,I have SO much to learn from you. Sometimes when I read about the things you go through with Casey it makes me feel so lame for complaining about my struggles with my "difficult child." People like you probably laugh at moms like me. ): I don't know where you find the patience and humor to carry on but I respect you so much for the woman and mother you are. I wish that I was more like you so that I could deal with my challenges in a more admirable way.Love you,Andria

  3. I didn't celebrate autism day. I'm too danged tired. Thanks for celebrating it on your blog and bringing to mind just how far my own little guy has come since the endless days and hold therapy and screaming at God so He would be able to hear me over my son's shrieking. It was a lovely post.

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