Proverbs 31:8 “Speak up for those who cannot speak.”
We are proud parents to three boys and one girl and when our second oldest child missed developmental milestones, life was soon overrun with OTs, PTs, speech and ABA therapists. Pretty soon, we began to hear whispers of the “A” word. Later, he experienced a severe regression, and the “A” word was no longer a whisper. His formal diagnosis was followed by biometrics, doctors, scientists, and many ‘ologists. You name it, we tried it.
We tried to put on our best faces and push through (if your community is anything like ours, you understand the pressure to perform and keep up appearances)! Plus, we’re communal leaders, so we felt it was our job to show up and serve the cholent wearing smiles, no matter what was happening at home.
But we struggled to balance all the demands of our community roles with the reality of our family situation. Eventually, when the transition to adulthood for our son proved complex, we decided it was time to nurture new leadership and answer the call to provide spiritual and practical support to those whose lives have been touched by Autism. We’re still involved at the Chabad House-slash-synagogue-slash-Gallery (it’s our 5th child, after all), but we also know this new mission is what we need to be doing right now.
Today, our son is a teenager and a student at a residential school in Massachusetts. This move was emotionally difficult, even more for us than for our son. But we’ve since understood that—as with typical children—letting him leave our nest wasn’t about us abandoning him, but about us giving him safe access to expansive world of opportunities.
As we all know these days, there’s a fine line between over-sharing online and revealing the journey to provide hope for others to draw from. We aim for the unvarnished truth, but we’re always equally focused on protecting the privacy of our son. Our path has sometimes been very difficult, but please don’t tell us you’re sorry. Our son is most definitely not a burden––he’s our biggest blessing.