by Gary Weitzen
My world changed forever on the day my beautiful son Christopher was born. It changed again–and just as rapidly–three years later when he was diagnosed with autism. After looking back at the last 20 plus years of being a father, all I have to say is three simple words: “Thank You Autism.”
I want to publicly thank autism for being a part of my life.–for the adventures, for the unique perspective on life, and most of all for the unexpected gifts you have given me. No matter what highs or lows any of us go through, it’s crucial that we all give thanks for the elements in our lives that make life worth living– for the things that push us to be better, to rise up to meet the difficulties ahead of us, even when there is no light visible at the end of the tunnel.
Now let me be very clear; if I could wave a magic wand and remove most of the challenges and all of the anxiety my son deals with every day because of autism, I would do so in a second. With that said, my son Christopher is the joy of my life and he continually shows me how to be a better man. In many ways, I think autism brings out the complete love, compassion, and understanding in all of us affected by its life-changing influence.
We as parents are supposed to be the ones teaching our children, leading by example and showing them what it means to be a good person, helping them every day to grow into the best them- that they are able to be. Sure, I work hard for my son and I do consider myself to be a good dad- but there is no way, no how I could ever hope to teach or give my son more than he has given me. My child has made me a better man, a better human being than I could ever possibly dream of being otherwise. He does not have a prejudice bone in his body; my son loves with a purity and a simple joy that just flows from him. So what are the gifts Autism has given me? Here is just my short list- feel free to add to it.
Gary Weitzen (aka Christopher’s dad)