I Don’t Know Why

Hi.

My name is Carrie Cariello.

I am married to a man named Joe. We have five children, and our second son, Jack, has autism. 

Nearly seventeen years ago, I gave birth to a baby boy with a neurological disorder.

It impacts the way he eats, sleeps, talks, and thinks.

Autism is a little like the ocean. One moment, the waves are calm, and quiet.

You admire their wide blue solace. 

But in the blink of an eye, it changes. The water becomes turbulent, and chaotic. 

Every once in a while, I wonder why he has it.

I mean, I know the who, the what, and the where of it all.

My son Jack has autism.

It is a complicated diagnosis involving executive functioning, regulation, obsessive compulsive disorder, and anxiety.

He has it in his heart and his mind and his spirit.

He will have it forever. 

But why?

Why does he have it?

I don’t ask myself this very often, but once in a while—like a hot stove I can’t resist touching—I reach my fingertips toward the heat. 

Why do I have this child who needs medication to soothe the fear within his spirit?

Why do I have a son who picks his cuticles until they bleed?

Why do I listen to him jump around the room and feel my heart squeeze inside my ribcage?

Why can’t I help him?

It’s hard. That’s what I am trying to say.

And if it’s hard for me, I know it’s a million times harder for him. 

On the days my heart is squeezing, his heart is shattering.

When I am gasping for air amidst autism’s rising tide, he is nearly drowning.

Underneath it all—the heat and the fingernails and the jumping—he is trying to tell me one simple thing.

Make room for me. 

The thing is, once in a lifetime, you get the chance to meet a person who is unlike any other person you have ever met.

I say this a lot. I say that you will never meet someone like him in your whole life. I say it when I’m feeling down, or nervous, or panicked.

It reminds me I am in the center of something powerful, and important.

And he is, you know. He is unlike any other person I have ever known. 

He is complicated, and honest, and tenacious, and pure.

He will alter who you thought you were.

And who you planned to become.

He is traveling a lonesome journey of one, and yet changing the lives of many.

He is a boy named Jack. 

My child, my son, my perfect reason why.

Written by, Carrie Cariello

Carrie Cariello is the author of What Color Is Monday, How Autism Changed One Family for the Better, and Someone I’m With Has Autism. She lives in Southern New Hampshire with her husband, Joe, and their five children. Carrie is a contributor to the Huffington Post, TODAY Parents, the TODAY Show, Parents.com. She has been interviewed by NBC Nightly News, and also has a TEDx talk.

She speaks regularly about autism, marriage, and motherhood, and writes a weekly blog at www.carriecariello.com. One of her essays, “I Know What Causes Autism,” was featured as one of the Huffington Post’s best of 2015, and her piece, “I Know Why He Has Autism,” was named one of the top blog posts of 2017 by the TODAY Show.

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Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook, subscribe for exclusive videos, and subscribe to our newsletter.

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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