What most people don't know, though, is that while I was pregnant with Gabriel and reading all those insipid pregnancy and parenting magazines, I was absolutely terrified that my baby would have autism.
Autism was getting a lot of press in 2004. And since so many parenting publications seem to purposefully instill fear and implicitly encourage a sense of inadequacy, autism became the the thing I prayed to God that my baby wouldn't have. In fact, I remember standing in the kitchen of the apartment I shared with my best friend and praying, "Please God, anything but autism. I want my child to be able to love me."
Now some would say God ignored my plea. I disagree. He answered my prayer by conquering my fear. He answered my prayer by showing me what love really is. He answered my prayer by showing me another facet of Himself.
So on this day, the day the rest of the world waves the autism awareness flag, I remember the day we were blessed with this gift to the world. And I pray that the world will accept this gift, because he and everyone else with autism have so much more to offer than a "cause."