On April 12, 2015 my life changed forever. Those first couple of minutes after my son was born was not only love at first sight but the beginning of one of the most authentic relationships and greatest loves of my life.
I have always thought of great loves in terms of romantic soulmates’ relationships. The ones we dream about and watch in the movies. But the relationship I have with my son is like no other. My son Stalen is 5 years old and on the autism spectrum. He is also non-verbal. Since he is unable to verbally communicate with me our entire relationship is built on the connection of our hearts. Words are not necessary because our hearts do the talking.
I am his person and he is mine. Cliché I know but we really do go together like peanut butter and jelly. I often joke and say that I know him better than I know myself. I’ve had to work extra hard to get to know him. I have to interpret his noises, his actions and movements, his body language, behaviours and even his looks. He is not interested in toys or other material things. His currency is one of time, effort and love.
Stalen had to take a leap of faith and trust in me from the very beginning. It’s that trust that has built the solid foundation of our relationship. I never trick him. I’m always honest and tell him what’s upcoming even if I know he won’t like it. But this has served me well. Due to his trust in me, I have been able to talk him through many medical procedures even though he was anxious, upset and scared. In September, he had his first surgery. It was difficult to comfort him with words in the recovery room when he woke up. He was visibly in pain and confused. I kicked off my shoes and jumped onto the bed with him and held him. He immediately calmed down.
The things that come naturally through development for many kids, requires lots of hard work for my son. We set lots of goals and I work with him to acquire new skills. In our house, we celebrate a lot. The small things are really the big things for us. I remember the first time he waved at 3 years old, the first kiss he blew me at 4 years old and so many other significant milestones. It is magical every time I get to witness one of these huge moments! Supporting him towards reaching all of these milestones have made our relationship stronger. It isn’t always sunshine. We also have had many dark days with meltdowns, self harming behaviours, frustration from not being able to communicate and medical challenges. There have been many tears from both of us. Each of these challenges have tried to wittle away at the foundations that makes us strong.
Instead of quitting, we chose hope.
Instead of blame, we chose forgiveness.
Instead of anger, frustration or disappointment, we chose love.
Instead of uncertainty, we chose faith.
Every time I try to teach him a lesson, he teaches me something instead. When I try to teach him to celebrate his differences and to be proud of himself regardless of supports he requires, he shows me that despite all of these challenges, there is reason to smile. He finds the joy in every single day.
Most importantly, he has shown me love that I didn’t even know was possible; that a great love can exist between a mother and her child. One that is life changing, ever-lasting and unwavering. A love that may seem unconventional; its not depicted in a Hollywood movie. It doesn’t fit in a perfectly square box. It is a love that has immensely blessed us and is ever present in our lives.
My name is Chrystal Venator. I am a proud wife, ASD Mom, and Step-Mom. In January 2017, at 21 months my son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and we haven’t looked back! He is five years old and non-verbal. Since his diagnosis, I have become a full time stay at home Mom. I am 1000% focused on raising autism awareness and helping my son live a full and fun life. Follow our journey on Facebook at Stalen’s Way. (www.facebook.com/StalensWay) or on IG @stalensway
The bond and love between a mama and her little boy is unique and simply cannot be argued…
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Photo Credits(2): Chrystal Venator