A Mother’s Passage with Raising an Autistic Child
Story by: Bonetta Lynch
Written by: Brenda C. “LeGeral” Gafford
Anticipation is an expectation of something approaching or forthcoming. A gift is something that is given without a price or cost to the recipient. So now that I have presented myself as a generic version of a Webster Dictionary, let me validate the purpose of the statement. I’ve always believed that God gives us the desires of our heart. He is loving and gives us wonderful gifts. A child is one of them and therefore the expectation is great and should be free of any penalties. However, that wasn’t what it seemed like in my case. I often hear people say God knows what He is doing and we shouldn’t question him. Well, I beg to differ because God needed to give me some answers concerning my son, Christopher, when I was given the news that he was Autistic.
I was told this when he was only five years old and it shattered me like a rock hitting a windshield. It completely obscured the vision I had for him. Now keep in mind, I specifically said the vision “I” had for my son, not God’s vision. This news angered me beyond verbal expression. It made me bitter and frustration totally consumed my soul, paralyzing my total existence. I threw up my arms toward Heaven and asked that old familiar questioned, “Why Me God?”
Witnessing the judgment of people is just the start it. The extreme heartache that I’ve dealt with has been just one of the many elements. When my son was younger, I would often observe how other children would receive invitations to birthday parties, but my son received none. I recall one particular incident, whereas it was told to me, that my son would ruin the celebration. Children and parents, alike, felt very uncomfortable with him. I wondered how people could be so cruel and seemingly ruthless. Calling my son “retarded boy” was just one, of many vicious and malicious references to him. Yes, every single incident crushed me. I would stand in full judgment of these people and scrutinized them for such behavior. However; there was one particular individual that needed to be criticized even more. She did hers in silence, but actually was the worst one and God called her out by name. “Bonetta” was what I heard. “Are you serious God” was all I could muster, through shocked lips! I mean, I love my son beyond what mortal words can express. I defend him, I protect him, I argue for him, I hurt for him, I nuture him, I'm his mother and I would lay down my life for him.
Here I am, a single mom that was dealt with her own physical challenges. I was diagnosed with scoliosis and neuromuscular disease from birth. With all of the discrimination, bigotry and prejudices that I’ve had to endure; now my child has to go through this emotional assignation too. My attitude was like “God, can you show me where I signed on the dotted line for this” and now you are saying that I am the worse one. Please explain that one! God responded with a very simple statement “If you can’t accept your son, with unconditional love, no one else is going to accept him. No matter what Christopher does, it never seems good enough in your eyes”. I was flabbergasted. I didn’t realized that I was filled with so many mixed emotions that couldn’t see the forest for the trees; until God acted as my lumberman and gave me revelation.
Once I came to accept my own malfunctions and corrected them, my son was accepted. Now, at age 16, people embrace him and see the true love within him. We still have those that aren’t as accepting, but his presence is more welcomed now.
Autism appears to be rooted in the very early stages of brain development. The most obvious signs of autism symptoms tend to emerge between 2 and 3 years of age. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Preventions identify around 1 in 88 American children as on the autism spectrum. This is a ten-fold increase in 40 years.
I resigned years ago, from my corporate career as a Mortgage Banker Loan Officer and devoted myself to the cause of autism. I’ve undertaken rigorous and thorough training to better understand it. I have many events and programs for the cause as well. This isn’t just on behalf of my son, but for the incalculable other individuals that are confronted with this challenge.
Was this a “Botched Blessing”, not at all! It was one of God’s best. I hope my story will make people more aware of the effect of the discrimination these individuals receive therefore restraining judgment, but allotting for more acceptance.
Bonetta M. Lynch is a native of Queens, New York and has dedicated her life to inspire and motivate individuals to release their God-given talents. Diagnosed with scoliosis and neuromuscular disease from birth, Bonetta refuses to let her disability or society define who she is. She had learned to “live life” in spite of her challenges and not according to someone else’s standards. Armed with a deep spiritual belief in God, she used her struggles to encourage and inspire others to live their dreams, discover the knowledge and true potential to reach their level of destiny. As a makeup artist for 16 years, she has had the opportunity to use her creative skills in various arenas in fashion video, television, and film for celebrities, political figures and social society. This accomplished business woman runs her mobile notary, process service and production company, “Sister II Sister” Now she has been given the gift to walk in faith to her calling as a newly acclaimed author, writer and life coach. Her recent project as contributing author and write of a new powerful book, “Cheers! To Your Success”, has encouraged her creativity and she is currently working on her first book entitled, “Intimate Soul Talk, Daily Devotionals for the Mind, Body, Soul and Spirit”, which will be completed by the fall of 2011. Besides her passion for volunteer-ism, community awareness and various organizations of Autism Speaks, The Muscular Dystrophy Association, Breast Cancer and Colon Cancer Awareness (just to name a few) her biggest joy is being a proud and loving mother of her beautiful son Christopher, who is autistic. Currently she is completing her B.S. Degree in Human Services / Psychology at SUNY Empire State College in New York. Every great dream begins with a dreamer.
Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. ~Harriet Tubman~
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