Soon after my six-year-old son was diagnosed with diabetes, I joined a support group for other moms, like me. New to St. Louis, I needed to meet mothers who lived the normal life that was now my own. Not my life of yesterday, when freedom and good health was taken for granted. Instead, I yearned to soak in a tub of others who understood what it was like to have children’s lives changed forever. Forever may only take the time of a second-hand to move upon a clock…tick-tock…tick-tock.
For a while, I met friends who shared a bond with me. After our precious cargo of kids went off to school, we took turns meeting at each other’s homes. Huddled around polished timbered tables, we shared stories from the week before. Our younger toddler’s bounced in La-Z-Boy rocking chairs, scribbled with colored crayons or sang Sesame Street songs in next door rooms. Drinking coffee from molded mugs, a new group of girlfriends passed the cream while nibbling on St. Louis’s own, Gooey Butter Cake. We laughed together, cried together, and became members of a club we never planned on joining.
Eventually, the word got out, and our support meetings began to grow. One morning, my front doorbell rang. A new mom stopped by asking if she could visit. On my white spindled porch she held the small fingers of a squirming young boy staring into space. In the other, she balanced a batch of marbled brownies. Quickly, I ushered her into my kitchen where she poured her heart out there and then. In front of everyone.
The new woman was anxious while keeping a nervous eye on her child who ran about the room. He had angelic features, with blonde curly hair, and green eyes the color of the sea. Nervously and with tears welling up, she began to tell us of his diagnosis of autism. Then, there was more. Recently, her son was diagnosed with insulin dependent diabetes too. She didn’t know what to do.
Of course, no two children are alike whether they live with chronic conditions or not. The woman’s son who came to my door that day had difficulty making eye contact together with a fear of being touched. This made it very challenging for his mother to check his blood sugar or give him daily injections of insulin. Even a four-year-old without autism has good reason to be afraid of this kind of ‘touch!’ His mother looked for help, support and any answers we could provide.
Ironically, the new mother who held the batch of marbled brownies left my home gifting me much more than I could have ever given her that day. Lessons of life. Within a few hours, I absorbed a lifetime of wisdom through her spirit of courage. God always has a reason for bringing people into each other’s lives. He chooses the time, the where and the when. It is not for us to question the why? We’ll figure it out…..
*April is National Autism Awareness Month, with today, April 2, being World Autism Awareness Day. According to the CDC as of 2014, approximately one of 68 children were diagnosed with some form of autism spectrum disorder: one in 42 boys, and one in 189 girls. No one knows why, and I dare to say the numbers are continuing to increase every year. Please help raise awareness for a better world for all families whose lives are touched by this condition.
Thank you for reading.