Shop the fall collection ➔

“Don’t be late Mum. 8:15 pm sharp!”

He lugs his 6ft frame out of the car, slings his bag over his shoulder and heads off into the distance without waiting for me to reply.

8:15 pm rolls around and as I enter the gym hall, I notice all the parents are huddled in groups, chatting animatedly. It occurs to me that I know none of them. 6 years at the same school and I know not a soul. In those six years my son has not received a single invitation to another person’s house.

I tried to get him to invite people to our house, but such is his anxiety, he couldn’t bring himself to do it.

This is the reality of Autism.

I stand on the side of the hall watching the 60-odd 16 and 17 year olds practice for their Debutante Ball. It seems a strange tradition to me. We live in Australia and Deb Balls are such an American thing. I stressed, worrying about how he would take it if no-one asked him. But he did get asked and here I am watching him as he 1-2-3 steps around the hall. I can only see him. All else fades away. My heart swells with pride. Without warning a tear emerges from my eye.

“Right guys, please go find your special person!” I love that – special person.

He comes over to get me. Takes my hand. We never touch. My heart is bursting, a thousand fireworks going off inside.

We listen to the instruction. He looks at me in the eye. So many moments of connection. 17 years it has taken to get to this point.

“Are you proud of me Mum? Are you crying?”

I cry. For everything. He knows that. I am overwhelmed with emotion.

“So proud of you my boy,” I manage to whisper.

And now the music is playing and we are dancing around the dance floor. I stumble at first, forgetting which foot to put backwards first.

“Right foot, Mum, your right foot goes back first.”

Soon, we are dancing, 1-2-3, 1-2-3. He is talking to me with excitement. This is a happy place I rarely get to see. The Ball is in four days and he is excited. Not anxious, not grumpy, not thinking about the crowds of people and the expectation. Just excited.

The night of the ball rolls around. As is expected, the excitement was replaced with anxiety, grumpiness, never quitting though. Such determination, such resilience.

He steps out in his suit and coat tails. My heart stops. My eyes leak. I take pictures of him and his older sister – a rare moment.

So many years fighting, working, moving forward, never giving up, even when everyone said he would never socialise, would never finish school, would never be truly included. This. This is his moment. His moment of triumph.

We take him round to his partner’s house. He presents her with the gift he chose for her – a pink crystal pendant on a sterling silver necklace. Photographs. Laughter. I want to scream from the roof how important this is, how amazing this is, how HUGE this is. His father and I look at each other. It’s okay. We know. That is all that matters.

All six of them pile into the limousine. My son, crammed with five other people in the car. He looks nervous, but is smiling.

Later that night we arrive, all dolled up ourselves, to the beautiful hotel. We wait anxiously for his Deb to be announced. He is waiting at the bottom of the stairs for her. He holds out his hand for her. Walks her down the hall. She curtseys, he bows. Can I be any prouder?

The dancing begins. So beautiful, so rhythmic. My eyes are fixed on him as he moves from one step to the next, one partner to the next. I have no words.

Then it is our turn. He comes to collect me and we dance beneath the mirror ball and candlelight. We laugh as people knock into each other. He guides me out of harms way.

The formality ends and teenagers take to the dance floor to the latest songs.

“I’d like to go home now,” he says, “I’ve done what I needed to do.”

We pose for a family photo and head home.

Our journey with Autism has been fraught with difficulties at times, with many highs scattered in between, but this evening saw so many barriers being broken, so much resilience.

I love that my son has Autism. I love that it has taught us all so much. I love that evenings like this night, so small to some – just another excuse for a party – mean so much to us. I love that through our non-connection we are so connected. Autism is my son – how could I not love that?

Sarah Cox

Sarah Cox blogs over at Sarah’s Heart Writes http://sarahsheartwrites.com/ where she documents with shocking honesty her journey with alopecia, alcoholism, depression, being a premature grandmother and parenting a child with autism. She has been happily married for 20 years, has two pretty darn amazing children, a gorgeous grandson and two adopted dogs that came with a whole heap of baggage. She has lived on three continents which kind of makes her a Tri-Nation gypsy. When she isn’t writing or parenting, you can find her paper crafting, reading and enjoying a cup of coffee out in the sunshine. She is a terrible cook and possibly the worst house keeper you will ever meet.

To The Mother Who Is Overwhelmed

In: Inspiration, Motherhood
Tired woman with coffee sitting at table

I have this one head. It is a normal sized head. It didn’t get bigger because I had children. Just like I didn’t grow an extra arm with the birth of each child. I mean, while that would be nice, it’s just not the case. We keep our one self. And the children we add on each add on to our weight in this life. And the head didn’t grow more heads because we become a wife to someone. Or a boss to someone. We carry the weight of motherhood. The decisions we must make each day—fight the shorts battle...

Keep Reading

To the Mother of My Son’s Future Wife

In: Grown Children, Inspiration, Kids, Marriage, Motherhood, Relationships
marriage, wife, husband, grown children, www.herviewfromhome.com

To the mother of my son’s future wife, I’m in the midst of dirty diapers and temper tantrums, but I do have days where I think about the future and what it will look like for my son. I wonder who he will be, what he will do and probably most of all, who he will love. I wonder about the type of woman he will bring home to meet us one day. I have my own thoughts on the type of person I wish my son would fall in love with, but we all know that the heart wants...

Keep Reading

Trading Fleeting Moments of Fame for Unshakeable Faith

In: Faith, Inspiration, Relationships
Trading Fleeting Moments of Fame for Unshakeable Faith www.herviewfromhome.com

The string quartet began playing Pachelbel, as my dad and I took our first steps down the aisle. I began to lose my composure as we proceeded to the altar. Hundreds of guests had their eyes on me as tears streamed down my face. Struggling to look my future in the eyes, I looked to the ground for reprieve. God, everything around me looks perfect, so why doesn’t this feel right? I’m not sure how I got here. The flame once dancing inside of me, has extinguished. Lord, I need you. Dad squeezed my hand gently, “Are you OK sweetie?”...

Keep Reading

Children Don’t Get Easier, We Just Get Stronger

In: Inspiration, Mental Health, Motherhood
Children Don't Get Easier, We Just Get Stronger www.herviewfromhome.com

“This too shall pass.” As mothers, we cling to these words as we desperately hope to make it past whichever parenting stage currently holds us in its clutches. In the thick of newborn motherhood, through night wakings, constant nursing and finding our place in an unfamiliar world, we long for a future filled with more sleep and less crying. We can’t imagine any child or time being more difficult than right now. Then, a toddler bursts forth, a tornado of energy destroying everything in his wake. We hold our breath as he tests every possible limit and every inch of...

Keep Reading

This North Dakota Homecoming Queen is Capturing Hearts Everywhere

In: Inspiration, Kids, School, Teen
This North Dakota Homecoming Queen is Capturing Hearts Everywhere www.herviewfromhome.com

When Paula and Kevin Burckard’s third child was born, she arrived with a little something extra the North Dakota couple never saw coming.  Newborn Grace had Down syndrome, and the diagnosis initially left the young parents devastated. “When Grace was born, I thought all my dreams for my daughter had basically been dashed,” Paula said.  But it didn’t take long for those fears to subside.  As Grace grew, not only did she meet and surpass milestones, her infectious joy, inspirational grit, and deep love of all things Michael Jackson transformed the family—and countless hearts. The Burckhards went on to adopt...

Keep Reading

Dear Kids, When I Forget What It’s Like To Be Little

In: Child, Inspiration, Kids, Motherhood
Hey Mom, Don't Forget—You Were a Kid Once, Too www.herviewfromhome.com

The kids were squealing in the backseat. For the five minutes prior they were begging me to spill the beans on where we were going as I had only told them to get their shoes, get in the car and buckle up. It’s one of the ways I’ve learned to make a simple trip out of the house one that is a mysterious adventure to them. As we took left and right turns away from our house, they were trying to guess where we were going . . . and when we finally pulled up to a brand new playground...

Keep Reading

My Children Deserve To See the Whole Me, Not Just the Mom Me

In: Inspiration, Journal, Motherhood
My Children Deserve To See the Whole Me, Not Just the Mom Me www.herviewfromhome.com

Before I was a mother, I was a human being. A human being with life experiences, passions, fears, talents, hobbies, goals, friends and aspirations that I cherished and tried to honor. Even though I went through a variety of seasons of life . . . from school-age days, to working adult, to wife . . . those things always stayed with me. I stayed open to evolving, but never let go of who I inherently was. Then came motherhood. And suddenly I found myself abandoning my commitment to remain true to me, and leaving any semblance of myself in the...

Keep Reading

My Mother-in-Law’s Legacy: Simplicity

In: Inspiration, Journal
My Mother-in-Law's Legacy: Simplicity www.herviewfromhome.com

The memories of my mother-in-law spilled to the forefront of my mind, just as the contents of his jacket pocket fell onto our dresser. It was Proverbs 31, written on hotel stationery, in my neatest block print. Holding the small papers in my hand brought me right back to her graveside, on a hot summer morning, seven years ago. “Her children arise and call her blessed.” (verse 28) As my second daughter gave a mighty kick from the womb, visible to every mourner present that day, I couldn’t help but to allow my mind to wander. Were my values apparent...

Keep Reading

A Car Accident Left My Teenager Paralyzed—and Incredibly Fierce

In: Inspiration, Journal
A Car Accident Left My Teenager Paralyzed—and Incredibly Fierce www.herviewfromhome.com

I drove back from my son’s college concert near midnight. Exhausted, I glanced at my 14-year-old daughter, Beth, asleep in the passenger seat. We were only 10 minutes from home. I thought I could make it until I heard a road sign flatten on concrete. As the car flipped three times across a bare Ohio field, we left behind an ordinary life. I escaped with cuts, bruises, and blood-matted hair. Beth was another story. The car was cut open and a helicopter rushed her to Toledo. A doctor told my husband John that she was paralyzed. When John broke the news...

Keep Reading

Dear Mama, You’re Allowed To Not Be There

In: Inspiration, Motherhood
Dear Mama, You're Allowed To Not Be There www.herviewfromhome.com

Friday afternoon was not much crazier than most afternoons. My husband was mowing the lawn, my daughter was hangry and my youngest son was due to be in a talent show in twenty minutes. I stood in the kitchen—where it seemed like I’d been for an hour—trying to motivate my family to eat dinner and get ready to go. “Get dressed, Jude. Make sure you eat something.” “Dean, do you want a slice of pizza before we leave?” I screamed over the lawn mower. “Maeve, are you going to the optional soccer practice or the talent show? You need to...

Keep Reading