“We continue to embrace, learn, grow, and rise the challenges that are set before us.”

In 2016 my son Jackson was diagnosed with autism. I felt like I was in free fall. I felt like I couldn’t find any means of comfort or consolation for the situation we found ourselves in.

A friend of mine suggested reading an essay written in 1987 called “Welcome to Holland”. This essay focuses on accepting the fact that in life you don’t always end up where you thought you would, but you could learn to adapt and come to love your new destination. This inspired me to write A Journey to An Atypical Land.

A Journey to An Atypical Land

The bags are all packed and the whole thing is planned.
We’re off on a trip to a typical land.

We land and we’re met with a great revelation,
this nation was not the proposed destination.

The language is one that we don’t understand,
the food is unusual; spongy and bland.

The roads are not straight but they circle around.
This town is compact and it’s drowning in sound.

This land is hectic and the stress is immense.
This land is chaotic. This place is intense.

But baby don’t worry, you’re not here alone,
this place is unknown, but we’ll make it our own.

We’ll study the people who’ve lived here before.
We’ll find some musicians, inventors and more.

We’ll see many artists and authors we know,
and scientists Einstein and Grandin will show,

that there is no limit to what you can do.
There *is* a promising future for you.

We’ll make some new friends who will show us the way,
we’ll learn to relax, to connect and to play.

We’ll hike in the mountains and lay by the shores,
we’ll find our escape in the tranquil outdoors.

We’ll silence the noise that surrounds this new place,
we’ll cherish the little things found in this space.

We’ll grow with each other. We’ll laugh and not stress,
we’ll always remember you’re different – not less.

We’ll welcome each conquest and over the years,
we’ll watch as each challenge in time disappears.

And though it is not the same trip that we planned,
We’ll learn to embrace this atypical land.

Three years have passed since I wrote this poem and this year my daughter was also diagnosed with autism. We continue to embrace, learn, grow, and rise the challenges that are set before us. It is not easy but we have learned to love and appreciate: the little things in life, the community that surrounds and supports us, and the opportunity to break barriers and surprise the world.

Author, Michele Thorne

Michele Thorne is the mother of two children who have been diagnosed with autism. She runs D.A.M.E.S. (Differently Abled Mothers Empowerment Society) which aims to give care back to the care-givers of differently abled children. Go to www.damesusa.com to get the support you need today.