My apologies for the sloppiness of this post. I’ve been writing it for the last three days, with children climbing on me, while Wren was napping, while I slurped down some coffee with Sesame Street playing in the background. Considering the things that have been on the news lately, however, it’s something that I have been wanting to say.
There’s been a lot of stuff in the media lately about autism, mostly because another parent has taken their autistic child’s life again. That’s not what I want to talk about right now, though. I want to talk about things that are really, truly awesome about having a kiddo with autism. And I don’t mean ways that my kid is great despite his autism. I mean things that are wonderful about this life we’re living. Period.
1. Triumphs are everywhere.
The flip side of things being a struggle? Having so many extra things to be proud of! Seriously! My son’s teacher sent me a text the other day and was like “hey, I just wanted to let you know that Duck sat through THREE WHOLE MATH PROBLEMS this morning!!!” Getting him to sit down and do even one can be tricky, so when I heard that he had sat and done THREE?? Over the moon. I was so proud! Made it through a trip to the grocery store without a meltdown? Did good hand washing? Oh, your kid was on the A Honor Roll again? That’s nice. Now if you’ll excuse me, MY kid just said ‘excuse me’ after he farted, so we are going to have a dance party and possibly some ice cream.
2. He is completely incapable of lying.
I heard him rummaging around in the kitchen the other day and I said to him, “Duck, buddy, whatcha doin?” “I’M EATING CHOCOLATE CHIPS!!!” he yelled (because he always talks in all caps). Was he supposed to be eating chocolate chips? Nope. Did he know I’d tell him to stop eating them? You betcha. Did he tell me exactly what he was doing anyhow? Yup.
3. He is genuine at all times.
I have social anxiety, and I often find myself analyzing, reanalyzing, OVER-analyzing, etc, everything that people say and do. Being with Duck is so different. Sure, I wonder what he’s thinking a lot, but I have never had cause to question his sincerity, or his motives, and it is so refreshing.
4. When he shows how much he cares, it is that much more moving.
He spends a lot of time in his own head, so the moments when he thinks of us, it’s tremendously precious. When I asked him how he was doing this morning, he said to me, “Good! … how are you?” He actually looked at me and thought to ask how I was! That’s huge! You better believe that my heart was singing. Once, a while back, I was rocking him before bed, and he said to me, “where’s my sister?!” I told him she was already in bed. “I LOVE HER!” he said. There was so much urgency, so much feeling in his voice when he said this, that it made my throat ache. It might translate differently, but his feelings are every bit as intense as ours – maybe more so. And when he shares them – when he says ‘I love you’ or ‘I want to kiss you’ or ‘please hold me’ it is that much more amazing and meaningful to me.
5. He is a true artist, creating incredible art solely for the purpose of creating.
He is an absolutely amazing artist, able to produce exquisite details using printer paper, crayons and kiddie scissors. Other people’s reactions to his masterpieces don’t move him at all; that’s not why he makes them. Most of the time, he throws them away as soon as he’s done. The thing that’s important to him is just making them. Here is a painstaking replication of most of the cast of Blue’s Clues.
Please ignore the dirty table. Gritty reality only, here.