87: Because Night Turns into Day

87: Because Night Turns into Day

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Raising Kids on the Spectrum

Because Night Turns into Day

Some see a hopeless end, while others see an endless hope.

~Author Unknown

Every now and then, my fourteen-year-old son Marshawn, who has autism, goes through phases where he wakes up very early. I’m talking 4 or 5 a.m. early, when the alarm is set for 7:30. It’s frustrating to say the least, particularly because he doesn’t fall asleep until pretty late, and I’m usually exhausted. By the time I get him to fall back to sleep, it’s time for us to wake up.

One morning after an “early awakening,” I asked him why he had gotten up so early. He said, “Because night turns into day. The sun rises.”

That was the last thing I expected him to say. Honestly, I didn’t expect him to give me a real reason at all, as he often repeats my questions rather than answers them. As a person who loves watching the sky, all I could do was appreciate his response, although I’m grateful he doesn’t wake up at the crack of dawn every single day. For days after that brief conversation, I couldn’t stop thinking about his words, and it had nothing to do with the sky. It resonated with me, because I felt a sense of encouragement that he didn’t even know he had blessed me with.

Life can definitely be hard, and I sometimes find myself in a dark place trying to find balance and make the right choices from one day to the next. I often feel lost, and think that there has to be more to life than feeling like this. Parenting, in my opinion, is one of the toughest jobs there is. Being a single mom of a child with autism presents a whole other dimension of challenges which affects every single decision that I make — important choices like work and child care, and more subtle things like whether a public place we choose to visit has family bathrooms, because I can’t send my teenaged child into a men’s room alone. Transitions, puberty, social and behavioral difficulties are just a few of the things that cloud my mind on a daily basis.

However, life is not always a sad song. Despite the tough times that we’ve encountered, his words ring true. “Night turns into day. The sun rises.” During my son’s evaluations and around the time of the initial diagnosis, I was beyond overwhelmed. It’s hard to see the bright side of a difficult situation when it blindsides you.

As time goes on, and with each milestone, with each goal accomplished, with each amazing thing that my son does, I have seen night turn into day. I have become more optimistic, gained a lot more clarity of mind, and things have become brighter. Marshawn helps me to see life differently and to look beyond the obvious. Days are sometimes stormy, but his presence always reminds me to see the beauty in each one . . . to see the beauty in life with a son who is unique, loving, brilliant and the greatest gift I could have.

~Janoah M. White

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