Our life as a puzzle: uncovering the beauty of my daughter with autism.

by Jennifer Dyer

Our life is a puzzle. Sometimes I look at a situation like Rachel’s autism or my experience with cancer and the pieces seem scrambled in a hopeless, senseless jumble.

I have a choice in those situations: hide from it and pretend I don’t see it, which helps nothing, or I can pick apart the pieces and make sense from the chaos, step by step.

I want to quit, but something drags me forward. One piece at a time, patterns emerge and hope shows its face. I can’t help Rachel speak like a Shakespearean actor in one day, but I can work on her imitating “ee,” or “ah.” I can’t teach her to read in one day, but we can sing the alphabet. One thing at a time, one little step at a time.

As I look back over the years and all our struggles, I see each tiny puzzle piece we’ve already clicked into place. It’s overwhelming to see the whole, but when I look at it as tiny parts, I can manage.

And as we go along, something beautiful is emerging. Some of the beauty is in myself. I have grown in ways I never thought imaginable. I’ve learned how to persevere. I’ve learned how to love deeper than I thought possible. I’ve learned to forgive, to have grace in failure, and to laugh at the messes that used to send me into a panic.

But the real beauty that is emerging is Rachel. She teaches us how to be strong. She overcomes a speech disorder by using pictures to show us her desires. She attempts to make words even though forming each new syllable is like running a marathon for her. She struggles with deep anxiety and OCD behaviors, but she is willing to forge ahead with each new day. She is beautiful, she is strong, she is amazing. She is my beautiful puzzle that is a masterpiece.

 

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3 thoughts on “Our life as a puzzle: uncovering the beauty of my daughter with autism.

  1. What a gift you are to your family and especially you children. You have an amazingly beautiful story to share with others. You inspire me with your words, every time time i read your blogs. Hug that handsome husband of yours (and of course my sweet cousin) and let him know that I admire you both.

  2. Sometimes it takes us a lifetime to learn the lessons God is teaching us. I think you have got it. Wonderful article.

  3. This is a super comparison to a puzzle, which is the autism symbol. There is so much Rachel has learned in the last 3 years. So awesome. Keep looking for the positive in all of the family. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. For some us they are more visible than in other people.

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