Don’t Think of Me and My Autistic Son with Sadness


I may never be in the stands cheering as my son skates down the ice with the puck. But, I feel the same pride, every time I watch him make progress and acquire skills.

My son Stalen is autistic. He was diagnosed when he was 21 months old. He is 6 and non-speaking.

Every time he says a new word or tries a new food, it is like the last minute of the third period, the game is tied and he’s on a break away, headed down the ice at full speed, he shoots, he scores!!!

The future is uncertain with autism and although I may not have the exact same experiences with my son as other parents have with their children. I know that our life together will be filled with wonderful memories, pride, deep love and laughter. To me, that is the formula for a life well lived.

Stalen may not play hockey but he will have many rich experiences in his life. He was in awe when he saw the Niagara Falls lit up at night, he giggled uncontrollably when I took him for a go-kart ride. He smiled at everyone that watched as we lifted his buggy onto the deck of a boat to go whale watching. His eyes were gigantic when he saw The Wiggles in concert for the very first time.

Even though I have and will continue to give Stalen adventures throughout his life. I feel like he has already given me far more.

I won the lottery the day I became Mom to this extra special boy.

I feel like I’ve already gained immensely because of what he shows me every day. I’m talking about the priceless stuff that can’t be assigned a value and escapes most words.

Stalen encompasses much of what we all strive to be.

The purpose of life is a life of purpose.

He may not be on the ice scoring actual goals but he’s winning at life because of his perspective and the unique way he sees and knows goodness.

He loves every one unconditionally, even if he doesn’t know you…he loves you.

He always answers hate with love. Indifference with a smile. He keeps moving forward in the face of pity and ignorance. It’s not recognizable to him.

In situations where we hold back because of social norms, he’s all in.

He greets it all with his signature spins, flaps and smiles. I know it is his hearts carefree way of saying, “look what I can do”.

Forgiveness…he does that too. He doesn’t focus on the past, mistakes or shortcomings.

He will always be happy to see you.

He finds happiness in every birthday cake (even though he doesn’t even eat cake-his excitement would make you think otherwise), every light that is turned on/off, every fan that is spinning, every you tube video, every song, every bite of vegetable cracker, every time he sees an iPhone or the Netflix logo.

He makes every hug matter. Every smile is stuffed with goodness just for you.

He is home to me.

He is all the love, comfort and peace that you feel in your favorite place.

So, when you think of me with sadness because of some of the things I may not get to experience with my son because he is autistic…

Please know…

He has and he will continue to give me many wonderful adventures that will be shaped by the amazing person that he is. These adventures can never be replaced or duplicated because he is the main ingredient.

My son has blessed me beyond measure and fills my heart with love, purpose and gratitude every single day.

Written by, Chrystal Venator

Chrystal Venator is a proud Canadian, wife, ASD Mom, and Step-Mom. In January 2017, at 21 months her son was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. He is 6 years old and non-speaking. Since his diagnosis, she has become a full time stay at home Mom. Chrystal is 1000% focused on raising autism awareness and helping her son live a full and fun life. You can follow their story on Facebook at Stalen’s Way

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Kate Swenson

Kate Swenson lives in Minnesota with her husband Jamie, and four children, Cooper, Sawyer, Harbor and Wynnie. Kate launched Finding Cooper's Voice from her couch while her now 11-year-old son Cooper was being diagnosed with autism. Back then it was a place to write. Today it is a living, thriving community of people who want to not only advocate for autism, but also make the world a better place for individuals with disabilities and their families. Her first book, Forever Boy, will be released, April 5, 2022.

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