Sunday, February 19, 2012
Right now, my son is sitting on the sofa with an apple in his hand listening to Greek mythology on the iPad. He will be eight in about three months, and he has autism.
Right now, my daughter is in the bath tub playing with toys. From my spot in my bedroom, I can see her through the French door to the master bath, talking to herself, acting out some kind of scene. She will be six next month.
Today I really liked it when some of the mama's I adore in the blogosphere posted this on facebook: "It's hard having an autistic child. It's even harder being an autistic child." I think it's true and valid. I feel like I could see my son posting it when he's old enough, if fb is still around in another five or six years.
I also think it's valid to post this: "It's hard being an autistic child. It's even harder having an autistic child." It might seem impossible to think both are true, or it might make me sound obnoxious to say it. But that's okay. I also liked it that some friends posted this Dr. Seuss quote: "Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."
When it comes to the question of autism's difficulty, what I feel is this: it's all about perspective, this life of ours, and along with it, this business of "harder." After all, can you really compare? Is suffering really measurable? How many of you believe that those pain-o-meter pictures in the hospital that ask you how to quantify your distress really mean that the doctor understands what you are going through when you tell him you are at level 3 or 5 or 7?
I can't speak for my son, who has autism, about how hard his life is or isn't, from his perspective or my own. I can't really compare my challenges to his. But I value the reminder in the facebook post that he very well might have the perspective that autism is harder for him than it is for me. I know that there are days his sister would likely argue it's no walk in the park for her, either, that her brother has autism, and I think she'd have a valid point, a right to her perspective and to some kind of fb quote all her own. I'm okay with anyone who wants to say they have it rough, who want us to know their perspective on how hard things are. Difficulties come on a spectrum.
I'd argue, too, that there could be a lot worse things in our lives than having autism in it. One would be not having autism in it, if it meant that there would not be a little boy sitting on the sofa with an apple in his hand listening to Greek mythology. Things at our house seem pretty hard through some looking glasses. But warm baths and juicy apples and learning and imaginative play and love look pretty beautiful too. I know my mama friends would agree with this without even asking them.
I just saw yet another quote on fb that resonates for me, and with this post, and so I will leave you with that: "Feelings are much like waves, we can't stop them from coming but we can choose which one to surf."
Thanks, friends. See you on facebook.
Posted by ghkcole at 7:38 PM