Life with Autism

Thursday, July 30, 2015


Today was a day of reflection.

I tossed and turned last night at one part of a conversation my husband had shared with me from the day before.  He was speaking with someone trying to work some things out, and in the middle of that conversation, the person said, "We have ambitions....".  Nothing more was said in explanation of what those ambitions were and what place they had in the conversation, and the conversation I guess resumed with the topic before that simple statement was shared.

But I've thought about it ever since.

"We have ambitions."

Knowing this person, I can say with a relatively secure confidence that those ambitions revolve around status, income, travel, and early retirement.   Heck, if I weren't in the position I am in, with "Life with Autism" -- those would have been my ambitions too.  So while I can't fault that person for that, I can reflect on what I have learned.  How I have been changed by my son Brandon and his severe vaccine injury.

It was sad to think though, what my husband might have thought if he could freeze the conversation after that remark.  At what he would think his ambitions were if not for our life with autism.  I'm sure he could have come up with many ambitions, none of them including carrying his limp son upstairs after a seizure, shaving that twenty-two year old son, or assisting him with toileting issues.  I'm sure they would be to work out for pleasure, and not for the sole purpose of living as long as he can to care for his son. Perhaps to have the money he earns go for Brandon's college and not lifelong care, eternal medical bills,  and a myriad of autism expenses.  To be able to use some of it for a vacation to the lake to kayak, let alone world travel.  Retirement at any point, now there's an elusive ambition!  

I can't even go there to think what my own ambitions might have been in another world....but I'm sure getting hate mail from vaccine trolls wasn't on the list.  I'm sure banging my head on my desk daily in total disgust at mainstream doctors wasn't on that list.  And I'm for darn sure missing most appointments I dare to schedule because of vaccine injury seizures wasn't on that list!

I woke up with all those thoughts of the day before and those three simple words that so moved me: we have ambitions.  My ambition on this day, was to get Brandon to school on time for us, which is an hour and a half late. Then I would go swim laps.  It's a luxury for me to get to do that.  Because of seizures, I don't get to very often.  But then as Brandon was standing at the kitchen counter eating a piece of his breakfast, I turned from making his lunch just in time to catch him as he was falling backwards.

And with that, sitting on the tile floor in the kitchen waiting for the seizure to subside, went my ambitions for the day.  Since he had fallen in the kitchen, I could only bring his gymnastics landing mat in there and make a bed for him to sleep off the seizure.  My office is upstairs, so every ten minutes or so I would go down the stairs to the landing where I could see him in the kitchen and make sure he was still sleeping, still breathing.

I was feeling pretty bummed that I would miss getting to lap swim, again, but then as I looked at him laying so innocently on the kitchen floor, I thought again about those words, we have ambitions.

I smiled.

Right there in the picture before me, was my ambition.

Where I once had worldly ambitions, I now have more grounded ones.  More purposeful ones.  I wake each day and do all I can to right the wrongs that have been done to my son.  Speak truth in a sea of lies.  Help others in my autism community, encourage them, inspire them, advocate with them.  Instill NDCQ in them!  Give hope through my HOPEISM!   I spend my time seeking ways within my means to help my son be the best he can be. The most independent he can be.  When I think that isn't enough, I look at where I was, who I was, and where I am now and who Brandon has forged me into becoming --- and how it is more than enough.

And I think that more than any ambition I have in helping my son have more good Brandon days than bad autism days -- is the thankfulness I have in the ambitions of others.  Those whose ambition it is to help those like me.  No great profit, no lofty titles, no recognition.  Just a desire to help others who need it most.  The desire to give selflessly of their time and money instead of working toward profit and prestige.  Sometimes in the enormity of autism, my appreciation of that gets lost.  I get so wrapped up in all the worldly ambitions I can't achieve, and forget what it really is that matters.

And on the days when my lofty ambitions of bringing down the vaccine industry and seeing the corruption of the CDC called out in Congressional Hearings and defeating Nazi-like vaccine bills fail, and I don't make it to lap swim or anything else I had planned, my greatest ambition will be to simply be there to catch my son should he fall.

I think Erma Bombeck said it best with one of her last quotes.  She was speaking of deeds, but I will insert the word ambition...

My ambition will be measured not by my youthful appearance, but by the concern lines on my forehead, the laugh lines around my mouth, and the chins from seeing what can be done for those smaller than me or who have fallen.

Those other ambitions I had, even if I could accomplish them, are but dust.

These ambitions, are forever.