By Randy Grossman-
Like many of us, I had the goals of any parent aspiring to have happy and healthy children. The challenges that emerge vary depending on a number of factors, but we certainly did not go into this with a thought that our children would be autistic. As a Father of two boys, both autistic and wonderful, I quickly realized that my life was not going to be what I thought it would be, and grieving was the toughest process I had to go through and still do.
I chose to stay and fight this, but had I known of the many obstacles that would emerge, I may have not overcome and won. Our lives would change when our children were born, I had the luck of marrying a caring woman who understood; and was able to teach me, along with the children the direction, and ultimately continue on. As a Father who has endured some pretty massive pitfalls, I feel that the greatest strength comes from within. I did not have the training to understand, never mind lead this altered lifestyle, but through patience and a strong work ethic I have learned to love, and passionately embrace many aspects of my family's life with a positive outlook.
We lead a life that embraced a goal of mine, to build a contingency plan that will protect my family when we are long gone. After all, what will happen to the children and how will they be supported? I racked my brain: "What would have to occur that all would be right in the world when it comes to our kids?" Then it dawned on me. The merging of my family with my Sister-in-Law's, to which she also has two children that are autistic. Many thoughts come to mind. How, when and will there be a common thread that will build this bridge? In my life I have optimistically embraced and at times repelled goals with the assumption that I can somehow navigate through choppy waters with that same positive attitude.
Humor and acceptance of change has become a mantra of mine. I live a life that was not my choice, but by golly I will endure and overcome, through the ability to adapt and rise above those tough choices that once hindered my ability to really live. I cherish each day with a feeling that I can make the best of it in my own special way. A Father's role is extremely important. It goes well beyond the obvious and given the opportunity to do it again. There is no question I would have learned my lessons and trusted the journey. I have decided to share my story not to grab onto the title of being an author, nor did I feel the desire for some form of ego gratification of our accomplishments, but simply because I felt a common bond to other caregivers. Caregivers I believe are the most unacknowledged, under paid and yet over worked folks around. If I could impart one lesson it would be to take care of yourself, never forget yourself in the situation, and always appreciate what you have.
Randy Grossman is the father of two boys with autism, owns and administers the successful Facebook page-'Your Autism Connection: News, Humor and Support.' He is also the President of HwH Records http://www.HwHRecords.com