I wish I had Cindy’s life, she said.
I sat shocked looking at her, how could anyone want my life. She was a single woman living on her own since her kids were grown. I thought she had it pretty good. She came and went as she pleased and had a quiet life.
You want my life? I asked unsure if I heard her right.
I drove home from ladies Bible study mulling this over and over in my head. What had I said or done to make her think I had a unicorn life?
Have you ever watched the movie Mary Poppins? Mary is a nanny who comes into the life of a wealthy family with two lonely children and teaches the kids to see the world through different eyes. She has a large handbag she carries around, and whenever life has a problem, Mary fixes it with something out of her bag. Big or small, no problem, it can fit in Mary’s purse. Even though her bag is only two feet deep, she can pull a five-foot standing lamp out of it.
I wanted Mary’s bag. I needed Mary’s bag. I would have given everything I owned to have that bag.
What my friend didn’t know was I was on the brink of insanity. I was slowly getting closer and closer to the edge of a big cliff where I felt someone was going to push me off at any moment.
I realized I had been living the unicorn life on social media but at home, it was a nightmare and somehow I had fooled everyone. Have you ever had one of those dreams where your being chased and you start running, but you realize you’re in deep water and can’t get away? That is what every day in my home felt like.
I have a son with autism. Kyle is my twenty-seven-year-old child who lives with us.
What you probably see autism as: is portrayed in the new movie, The Good Doctor. Freddie Highmore plays the role of Shaun Murphy, a young man with autism who is also a savant. Freddie is brilliant, self-sufficient, speaks intelligently, lives on his own and makes lots of money. When I was a child, kids like Freddie would have been labeled quirky, and society accepted them as slightly different. For every Freddie in this world, there are ten Kyle’s. But nobody knows this.
Kyle is one of the hidden boys. Most of our society doesn’t even know Kyle exists. There are many more young men and women like Kyle who are tucked away somewhere, usually in a group home and they never leave the building, due to anxiety, so how would society even know about them.
Kyle sat for two years under a blanket in his bathroom. He couldn’t eat, he lost eighty pounds, he smeared poop floor to ceiling every day and banged on his walls morning to night. Our son destroyed everything in our home he could get his hands on. Kyle became so sick we thought he was going to die and doctors sent us away saying there was nothing they could do for him. We were without help and without answers.
This was my unicorn life.
Are you ready to quit reading this post yet? Not very glamorous is it? Not even TV worthy. Getting bored again? If anyone out there in the movie world wants to make a movie on this, come find me….ya that’s what I thought.
After that day I decided to be real. I started exposing my real life. I realized our friends and family thought my life was glamorous too. They thought I went to the gym every day, was always on vacation and lived the high life. What they didn’t know was the gym kept me sane, the holiday gave me ten night of sleeping all night, and dinner out once a week gave my husband, and I time to work on our marriage.
We have four children younger than Kyle, and they were continually defending us when people were saying, your parents go to the gym a lot, and why are they ALWAYS on vacation?
I began to expose our real life and started a group called Kyle Needs Prayer. I added one hundred of our friends and family. I began to tell them of the real behind the scenes, raw and upfront everyday struggles we were having. They were shocked! But they began to pray.
Ever so slowly, God gave us answers to Kyle health problems and his life turned around. Sometimes the solutions were bizarre and crazy. They were not from doctors but from other places and people he put in our life. When the medical world runs out of options, God still has a million solutions up his sleeve. You can read our real story in my novel, Beauty from Ashes.
My life today has had a complete turn around from five years ago. Most people wouldn’t want my life still today, but to me, I now have a unicorn life. Not because my life is perfect but because my life has improved compared to what it used to be. If I had started out with a Mary Poppins bag and been able to forgo all of my problems I wouldn’t love my world today.
I wouldn’t change those heart-wrenching years for anything in this world. They transformed me, my husband and our marriage. We are stronger, more compassionate, more patient and can be content on a beautiful summers day to sit on the porch and enjoy our new more simple life.
Our children are entirely different people than who they would have been had their brother not been born with a disability that completely turned their lives into chaos.
When my youngest child, Eythan, met Jazmin a year ago, and he knew she had cancer, he still wanted to marry her. He had learned illness can be a blessing in disguise and doesn’t mean life comes to a standstill. I’m not sure our family would have been able to just roll with cancer had our magical wand been able to erase all of our problems beforehand. By the time He asked Jazmin to marry him, we were all in love and cancer faded behind the curtains as Jazmin stole center stage in our hearts.
Most of all those years heartbreaking years changed Kyle. He now knows he has a family who went through his darkest hour with him and we are not his only family. Eventually, Community Living Algoma gave us angels who came to help Kyle. His staff that works with him daily has also helped transform his life into something beautiful. We couldn’t have done it without them. They were his Mary Poppins. They came every day and opened their bag and pulled out everything they knew and patiently allowed Kyle to slowly make his way back to us, out of his dark world and into our again.
What is your life really like? Maybe you would want to come forward and be real so people can see you are like the rest of us, that you have a less glamorous life than people think. You may also want to start praying and asking God to intervene in your life and those of the ones you love.
Maybe it’s time to ditch the Mary Poppins facade and show people your real. Afterall this is how we understand each other: through our problems not through our perfections.
When I finally exposed the truth, people were able to relate to me because they saw me as human, struggling and real, and they watched God transform a son and family.
This is my new unicorn life and Kyle’s new world, not one you would want, but one I have grown to love💗
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20 NIV.