Before Autism- Brooks and I were the newly married couple who would go to a restaurant and ask the waiter to move us to a new table if the family next to us had noisy kids. We expected a quiet romantic dinner when we went out on a date. We didn't understand why parents would bring loud and crying kids into a restaurant. And then we had twins.
Autism x 2
And not just any twins, twins with autism. And it rocked our world. We launched into survival mode. Everyone deals with adversity differently. For me, I dove into the research head first. I was going to "fix them." If I read every article I could find, joined the online chat rooms and read every post ever written, networked with enough autism moms, tried every medicine and snake oil potion available, I could find a cure that would "recover" my children.
Although both kids have autism, they present completely different challenges. We survived a ten year period of living in fear of our son escaping and wandering off. I wrote a little about this HERE. His life's goal was to get out the door and explore his environment. He took every opportunity to take off at a full sprint. Since we lived on a busy road we kept 5 different kind of locks on the front door. One that only opened with a key. We had to hide the key when he wasn't looking, otherwise he would find the key, unlock all five locks and be gone in a flash. He is also non-verbal, so that presented a whole other set of challenges on a daily basis.
Moving out of the city onto 2.5 acres was the best thing we ever did for our family. The first time we unlocked the door and "let" him go out and explore was the day that changed everything. He finally could exercise his free will. Although he didn't have a "voice" he could for the first time make some decisions for himself about where he wanted to be and what he wanted to do. It was like he took a nature CHILL PILL.
Being outside calmed him in a way that no medication had ever been able to do. This house, this property was a balm for his soul. And his new found calm was just what we needed to finally relax, cast our cares upon the Lord and focus on growing our business to provide for our family.
This property also gave us the space to expand our cabinet painting business. I worked day and night aggressively marketing our painting business, managing the day to day operations of Bella Tucker, our household, the children's education and doctor's appointments, therapies AND running another full time marketing business with about 8 clients. I felt like I was always burning the candle at both ends. I was stretched so thin that no one got my BEST. I was crossing things off my TO-DO list but I was not living the abundant life that God had for me. It wasn't fair to my family, my clients, my business parter or ME. I clearly felt God moving me towards simplifying my life. He was asking me to trust his sovereignty and provision. As of this month, I was able to completely step away from my marketing company and turn things over to my business partner.
For the first time in about 10 years I only have ONE JOB- running Bella Tucker. For the first time in my adult life, I'm not stressed out. I almost feel guilty that I have some time to invest in friendships, to encourage people, volunteer, and study my bible. Instead of trying to "cure" my kids I'm learning to love them the way God made them and trust that he will keep his promises to "Work all things for the Good" Romans 8:28
In addition, I am able to take better care of our clients and our workers, offer expanded services and work towards growing our company in a steady strategic direction.
April is Autism Awareness month. This is one family's story of living with autism, trusting God's plan and living an abundant life.