Call it a mother's instinct or the inclination of knowing the word, 'normal'. My husband and I have known that something was up with our daughter but couldn't quite put our fingers on it. She would react differently to loud music, play along side her friends rather than direct interaction. Last weekend Cheyenne had a friend sleep over. We noticed then the stark differences between our baby girl and her friend. Seeing these differences only confirmed what her new counselor was trying to tell us. She has Autism.
For the last two months, I ignored this rock in the pit of my core, not wanting it to be true. My biggest fear of being a mother was having a child disabled or defective in the eyes of the world. The fear stemmed from growing up with my older brother. He became mentally handicapped when he reacted severely to his vaccinations as a toddler. Though he is less than a year older than me, he has the mind of an eight year old. Throughout our childhood, I was fought with classmates and teachers for the way he was treated. Even now my heart swells with hurt from what he has walked through. Because we are less than a year apart, his walk was part of my walk.
My child isn't severely handicapped, she has mild Autism combined with Inattentive ADD. Looking back and remembering her quirks, outbursts, and other events, the symptoms of autism were loud and clear, but I didn't see it, no one really did. Her teachers felt she was being disrespectful, with issues from disorganization, daydreaming, and not turning in assignments. I thought she was just in too much of a hurry to plow through her assignments and chores in order to get back to her art.
My biggest fear is how others will treat her with these new labels. I don't want them to see her as defective, or incapable of doing things other kids do. Parenting out of fear is not what God intended. He created Cheyenne and loves her more than I do, yet my mothering heart cannot comprehend that He loves her more. He has a plan for her, for all children for that matter. It's up to me to embrace His plan, to parent her in the way she was created. Yes, I could pray for healing or for Him to make her 'normal', or I could stay angry that He created her with these challenges. Or I can dry my eyes, and remember that He works through our weaknesses. I may not understand the whys, the hows and question His ways, but I do know that I can stand on His word. All things are for His glory, labels or none, He has big plans for her.