Mr. Speaker, April 2, World Autism Awareness Day, will mark 20 years since my son Jaden's diagnosis.
Helen Keller once said, “Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.” These words are very powerful for me. For example, two years ago, Jaden and I had a great day speaking to 15,000 kids at WE Day in Saskatoon. Our flight home was delayed, and suddenly Jaden got really sad. Tears streamed down his cheeks. We found a quiet place at an empty gate, and I just held him, my 20-year-old son, for half an hour, until he felt better.
I reflect a lot on what I have learned from Jaden. Though he struggles to articulate why he feels what he feels, he expresses how he feels very openly and clearly without words. For Jaden, much more important than the words I speak is the simple fact that I am there.
The life we live is never exactly the life we expected, but the unexpected life is where the real learning takes place.