I never envisioned raising children with special needs but it happened. The kind of life that autism brings to a family was never in my dreams. In fact, raising children with autism was a foreign place that I never wanted to go to but I went there. I was forced to go there. I had no choice.

Even though my degree was in special education, when I landed as a special needs mother, I soon found out that it is a totally different place from the special needs classroom. A special needs teacher and a special needs mother is two different roles. I didn’t sign up for the special needs motherhood role.

I never thought that the word divorce would enter my life but it did. I always planned on divorce being a foreign word to my family. I never envisioned entering that foreign place but it happened and I had no control of it.

Before I knew it, I found myself as a single mother to two boys with autism. A world that was so far from my plans that it was completely foreign soon became a reality.

So, here I am living in this world that was so foreign to me at one time in my life yet it is so natural for me now. There are not tool kits that come along with your new life. I have yet to find all the things that work and don’t work, but I am trying.

I don’t claim to be perfect and never have. I have my faults; the good Lord knows I do. However, I don’t give up. I simply keep on traveling and learn the ropes of the foreign life that was handed to me.

Nonetheless, before I knew what was taking place, the foreign place that I landed with special needs children and divorce soon became a familiar place. Through many endless days of struggles, tears, sweat, and blood; I found my place in this thing called life. I found my purpose and the purpose of my children.

I don’t look at my life as a foreign, unfamiliar place anymore where I didn’t want to land. I chose to accept that it’s what I needed in this life and God knew exactly what I needed better than I knew myself.

I soon realized after I spent time here that it is beautiful! My life with my boys has so much to offer others. We see the beauty in every little detail in life; something that I never saw before. I soon found out that true, unconditional love is not something that is spoken with words. True, conditional love is shown through actions and how a person lives their life.

I learned how to live in a foreign place and still see the beauty.

As I walk and travel in this life with my two sons, I can’t help but thank them for leading me on this journey. They took me to where I needed to go. I look forward to what my boys and I have to offer this world. We are true warriors in a foreign place that soon became a beautiful, familiar place right in front of our eyes. Sure, we still have our ups and downs but who doesn’t? Life is about taking the life that was given to you and living it to the fullest no matter where your life took you.

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.