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Autism Through His Aunt’s Eyes

Sweet boy, you came into our lives and have painted our world with all the colors that only you can see. You teach us, every day, how to support you and how to show you love while keeping it on your terms. You take your time and make sure that things are perfect. You are methodical and you have a memory that is outstanding.

What did I do before you came into our lives and taught us that “normal” isn’t a one size fits all word? Honestly, I really hate that word now. You have shown us that life doesn’t always run right on time, and that’s ok. The day that your diagnosis was received, it took time to settle. While there was some idea that this would be the outcome, confirmation is different. We love you so big, that it was hard to reimagine what life would look like in the future.

Very quickly it was realized that your diagnosis didn’t change who you are, but it explained who you are, and it was the most amazing gift to us all. Doors were opened to care for you that you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to get through. You would be given the gift of specialized therapy and providers to help you teach us how to communicate with you.

You couldn’t have better parents to take this journey with. They are both so loving, patient, and kind. Your mom, my sister, is a tenacious little thing. When it comes to her children, that is even more prominent. There isn’t anything in this world that would stop her from getting answers and making sure that she was getting all of the best information. You will always have strong advocates in them, and the rest of us.

Being an aunt is one of the greatest titles I have ever held. 5 nieces and nephews, and my heart wants to burst with pride every time one of them overcomes something, blows through a milestone, or even just does something run of the mill. Every time one of them was born I cried. I never knew I could love other children just like my own, until I became Aunt Heidi.

We have come to see that those events and milestones are a bit more of a feat for you, buddy. What comes naturally to one child, you have to think about a little while longer before you are ready to participate or verbalize. A loud gathering is fun for most, but at times it is too much for you to process. The hills for others can be mountains for you, but you have never stopped climbing. Every time you make it to the top, you have an entire village of people ready to clap.

I never want you to change your song to try to fit another’s tune. I hope you sing off key as loud as you can as often as you want. You get to witness the world in a way that most of us will never understand or experience. I am proud to be your aunt, and we are lucky to be able to spend our lives learning about the world as you see it. There will be rough days, but there will be far more great days.

Sometimes the things we can’t change end up changing us. That’s why we are lucky that you are ours. 💙

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