Posted by: Leigh Reynolds | March 18, 2013

Life on the Spectrum

I’ve been staring at the keyboard for a while, unsure where to start, what to type. When I started this blog it was a way to push back against the darkness and I determined to use it to turn my negative thoughts into something positive. Today I am struggling with that.

Life is good. I have amazing children, a devoted and loving husband, good work, a nice home, amazing friends… Yet of late, more often than I care to admit, I am on the verge of tears. I am not even completely sure why.

I feel like it is a dishonor to all the amazing blessings in my life if I complain or am sad or am struggling to cope. I am, as the saying goes, “too blessed to be stressed.”  I trust in a mighty God, and though some would say this is a lack of faith, I am stressed.  I know the verses by heart – Do not worry about tomorrow for each say has enough trouble of its own. Check out Matthew 6:25-34 or Luke 12:22-32. I know them; I believe them. Yet I still worry sometimes.

I feel as though am letting Wil down if I fall apart. He needs me at my best, so I can help him achieve his highest. I say it all the time, and I mean it, he is pure joy. But sometimes that joy is bittersweet. His chatter is adorable, but I don’t know if he is trying to communicate something or just making fun sounds. His smile is amazing, but it is most often given to a Muppet on Sesame Street or – as Tess and I like to say –  some conversation he is having in his own language with an angel; not smiling at me. His eyes are gorgeous, but so rarely do they glance my way and look into mine; and when they do, the moment is so very fleeting.

He didn’t get a nap today and he had ‘school’ and therapy, so he was tired. As we were finishing up dinner, he was falling asleep in the chair. I picked him up and he fell asleep in my lap. Selfishly, I just held him there rather than taking him on up to bed. He’s not a cuddler, so I steal these moments when he isn’t looking. I treasure them.

I love him more than the words in my brain can express. I am humbled that God chose us to be his parents. I just want to be better at putting his needs ahead of mine. He doesn’t need to say “I love you, Momma” to be happy. I need to figure out how to be OK without those words too.  At least for now…

I live my life with words. I write compelling copy, teach communication workshops, draft strategic pans; I help people find their strongest voice in my work with patient populations every day. My family gives me T-shirts that say things like “Help! I’m talking and I can’t shut up!” We joke that the old Saturday Night Live sketch, “The Loud Family” was really about us. I am a terrible listener.

God has given me a challenge – to learn to love and be loved without words. Life on the spectrum. It’s called the autism spectrum because the disorder effects everyone so differently. Webster’s defines a spectrum as a broad range of varied but related ideas or objects, with features that tend to overlap so as to form a sequence… But a spectrum is also the reflection of light as it passes through a prism, creating something beautiful.

We are just passing through this life. I strive to be a reflection of the One who created me. I know Wil is a reflection of Him every day. If I can figure this out and get my head and my heart straight, I know Wil can teach me how to listen and help me love more, words or not. And together we’ll create something beautiful.



  1. Hi, I also feel that I’m being shown that love goes beyond language.

    • That has – so far – been the biggest lesson for me. I have to choose to see how he loves on his terms, not mine. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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