BLUE BIRD of HAPPINESS

For those of you who do not know….. April is Autism Awareness Month and to promote this event the colour blue is everywhere.

Here is my interpretation of what Autism means to me.

blue bird

Art work By Kath Unsworth

I sketched this bird because he is beautiful, yet vulnerable, he looks like all the other birds but he is unique and flies on a different flight path than most. He is happy with who he is, it is other’s who are ignorant to difference and try to change him into something he is not.

This is for you my sweet clever boy, we will always be here for you and your sister.

Different not Less.

You never see it coming, that healthy new-born baby bubbling with possibilities . I use to wonder why I had so much freedom. Traveling the world, doing as I pleased with little or no real responsibilities. When I met my husband I was at the spiky end of turning 37 and felt I had lived two incredible lives when my children were born. They are our blessing, as is my soul mate. Autism is just one part of our world.

Autism Awareness month gives me time to reflect on how far my son has progressed. For new parents it might seem like nothing ever changes, I am here to tell you it does. Living and learning about Autism has changed who I am. Accepting I and my husband are responsible for two unique individuals. Life is rich in challenges and learning curves you never expected to experience, even if your child is not on the spectrum.

What I have learnt as an Autism Mummy….

I have learnt to try one thing at a time and move on if it does not work for our son.

I have learnt that you are not alone and that there are many inspiring families you can connect with. I am a member of an online group of mums that show incredible powers of strength and love and this post is a tribute to their dedication and friendships which I will treasure forever. Not to mention their wonderful children being and doing incredible things against all odds.

I have learnt to keep high expectations even when others, some professionals tell me otherwise. YOU are enough for your children and you will fight for their right to live a full and HAPPY life.

I also learnt YOU NEVER STOP LEARNING.

N is for NEVER GIVE UP. My daughter is one of those old souls who is like a best friend to her brother, a teacher, a protector and a wonderful sister. My husband is gentle, kind and loving and understands you cannot rule autism with an iron fist, it is gentleness that will set you free. I try to put myself in my child’s shoes, some days I fall short and this is something we humans do, we are not perfect. I get back up and try again.

Autism has taught me that when I feel wrecked and cannot take anymore,

I CAN, I MUST CARRY ON.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel and persistence will get you there. I am not saying my life is perfect, my challenges re group and new ones arise, but I am saying you can find  inner peace and acceptance that life is going to be different.

The other day I watched my son running around the football field with hundreds of other children, he almost blended in, although I could see the warning signs in movements that he was anxious. He held it together and made it through the day. This was a very BIG WIN for us. Once upon a time he would not have been able to cope with such a noisy, intense atmosphere, once upon a time we did not go to these school events. I have learned to listen, the one skill I was never any good at. My patience astounds me at times and at other times not so much.

My son has taught me many skills.

LISTEN to me MUM and I will tell you what I need. (Sometimes I have to say no to a third chocolate biscuit) discipline in parenting still has a place in our home too.

Autism is not the end of the world, it is a different way of being and a different way of thinking, learning, loving and most of all LIVING.

If you know someone who knows autism, you have met someone who has learned many brilliant lessons. I hope I have made you more aware of Autism and when you see someone having a tough day, their child maybe melting down in the supermarket, or pushing some boundaries ……. be the understanding onlooker. Avoid judgement they might be caring for a beautiful blue bird just like mine.

About Minuscule Moments

Everybody has a DREAM. Today is the first day of the rest of my writing life. Its a lonely world out there when you are learning the craft. This year, as the same as last year, I want to finish my first children's picture book. I have learn't many wonderful lessons on this journey. You are never too old to learn.
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62 Responses to BLUE BIRD of HAPPINESS

  1. “It is gentleness that will set you free”. So beautiful, and so fitting a sentiment to go with the emblem you have chosen for your boy. I also saw this the other day – I wonder if you have seen it? It blew my mind…

    http://www.upworthy.com/so-if-her-parents-had-given-up-they-never-would-have-seen-this

    • Alarna I have seen Carly’s story it is amazing and that is why I tell my boy that autism is not a curse, it is just a different way of learning, when you find each child’s way, the way they learn you can connect. My son said someone the other day asked him if she could catch autism, like it was a disease. It was from an innocent child and that is where we can educate better. Thank you for thinking of me, my sister also has Carly’s book which I will get around to reading one day.

  2. Alisa Belzil says:

    Hi Kath! I just want you to know that you are an amazing woman and Mum. The colors in your bird are so bright and beautiful. Sometime we can see the energy of someone just by their art, though we may have never met. I can tell you are a positive light. Thanks for sharing your personal story and your lovely art.

  3. seanbidd says:

    Kath, hello. A little poetic prose while becoming entangled in your post, hope it okay.

    Between your bright blue bird and words expressed, shared. It’s beautiful to meet an incredible person such as one so connected to lifes’ differences. Writing, drawing in such a world that will never be dull, in a way like living on the fringes to the Roaring Forties and their alternate expressions. All the best in all endeavours, for those to of journeyed and the ones yet to arrive. It’s the stories that make us and our families, in how we write and draw them..

    Flight in an open world, our wings should never be clipped over differences, for how we see it, in how we navigate our hand drawn cartography in bright colours, those we find drawn inside and about us, tell a story of each our own choosing, walls need not apply to such tales where blue birds fly, places where wind and sky write their worlds, wrapped in choices different to the masses, such freedoms to perch where we sketch our changing destinations, flight paths brimming full with tales.
    Cheers

  4. Reblogged this on Jennifer's Journal and commented:
    This being the last day of Autism Awareness month, I am reblogging Kath Unsworth’s post on the topic. She has such a gentle yet inspirational way of explaining how autism has touched your life.

  5. I was happy to give it more recognition, Kath. 🙂

  6. Desi Clown says:

    I would’ve never guessed your struggles had I not read this post. I’ve hardly come in contact with you, and I can still feel the patience, care and maturity in the way you write. I especially loved the football field scene, it played like a movie in my mind… I never realized how onlookers can also be a part of either the problem, or the solution. Rebuking, or belittling the parent or the child is only going to ruin it for everyone. Just by suspending judgement, an onlooker can do so much!

    • Desi thanks for reading this post it is very close to my heart and my Son had his best year ever at school last year because he started to participate in many events that usually left him anxious and exhausted. At the end of the year, he did not win any awards at presentation night and he told me he should have got an award for participation. My husband and I smiled at him and rewarded him with a trip to Macca’s and told him how amazing he is. Until you live with Autism I guess you do not see how complex it can be. But the world is slowly being educated. I just saw a post where 1 child in 88 in America has Autism. Its not going to go away and so we need people to understand how it is.

      • Desi Clown says:

        A fitting happy ending to your story 🙂 I read somewhere that if parents and caregivers create self confidence, and not reinforce the limitations, the child has half the battle won

        • Spot on Desi, the self confidence is very important to all kids. My husband believes it is number one on our list and at the moment our son has it in bucket loads. But I know high school he will suffer a little and so next on our list is teaching him how to have a quirky sense of humour, so he can laugh off the negative forces that collide with youth and the need to follow the crowd.

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