We are all different and have different takes on life. The trials that we go through helps define the person that we are today. Whether it is good or bad, we are who we are today because of our past.

 I was a typical small town girl growing up with a dream of getting married and raising a big family one day. I dreamed about that white picket fence life and longed for it. In my late twenties, I got married and we had our first child on its way. August 20, 2010 we welcomed Trenton James in to the world. We could not have been happier. It didn’t take us long to figure out that he was a difficult child. Eight months later, we found out we were pregnant again. We welcomed Andrew Joseph into the world on November 11, 2011. Shortly after Andrew’s birth our lives changed forever. The white picket fence was gone and the life we knew was fading away.

Our sons were diagnosed with autism. Trenton has severe autism and Andrew has mild autism. The life we dreamed about with healthy children playing in our backyard was diminishing by the day. We soon welcomed a new life. Our new life consists of a one person working household while the other person takes care of two kids with special needs. Our days are spent in ABA therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy. We fight battles with a child who is unable to communicate with us. I am up around the clock with Trenton who is unable to sleep. We are prisoners in our home because we are unable to take Trenton to a restaurant, park, or any type of store because his body doesn’t allow him to handle it and he goes into sensory overload.

I spend every minute that I have advocating for my sons so they can live in a world that understands their disability. Unfortunately, as we speak, not many people understand what autism is. It entails much more that just not being able to communicate. It is also a disability that affects their sensory system, behavior, and leaves the socially impaired. My oldest son is unable to show emotion and can’t look me in the eye.

The white picket fence life did not happen and will never happen. However, I wouldn’t trade my life for the world. God blessed me with two amazing boys who have taught me more about the little things in life that I would have never knew. My view on life is much different than it was before I had my boys. I never take one small eye glance for granted nor will I ever take a good night’s sleep for granted again.

My boys have taught me to be a much more caring and thoughtful person to others than I was before. I look at the world differently and I am never quick to judge another person. We never know what others go through in their lives in the comfort of their own home. I am sure many strangers can look at me and would never guess the trials and tribulations that I go through with my children daily.

Nonetheless, we make the most of our life. If we didn’t then we would be sinking in our own pity. We live our life to the fullest to the best that we can. We never take one moment for granted. We know all too well how fast life can change.

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Angela Conrad

Angela Conrad is a freelance writer, mom to two boys on the autism spectrum, determined autism advocate, and fun-loving person. When she is not doing her advocacy work for autism, she can be found managing her son’s therapy schedules and all the other crazy things that life brings. Angela loves being a mother and cherishes every moment of motherhood. She enjoys making the most of her life as a special needs mother and is blessed that God granted her the privilege of being a special needs mother.

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