World Autism Day passed us by two days ago. I felt a myriad of emotions and consciously chose not to write on that day. I was surprised by how many individual facebook posts I received on my wall by caring friends who reached out to me personally, saying they were wearing blue in honor of the day, in honor of the rascals. I felt proud that our family had touched the lives of others for the better.
The boys are on spring break and I took them to a park. There were several kids there and they were having a great time playing. A little boy engaged them to go rolling down a hill with him. I started talking to this boy's grandmother who was just so incredibly smart, compassionate and sweet. Come to find out her daughter has twins, almost the same age and with the same names as my rascals ---- BOTH have autism. How strange is that?? Just like my Rascal #1, her older twin grandson is a savant in language as well. It was mind boggling the similarities!
As the boys continued to roll down the hill, mesmerizing this wonderful lady and myself with their ability to spin for minutes on end and not vomit ~~ she began to ask me the usual set of questions: what do you think causes autism? why do you think there is such a sharp rise all of a sudden (referring to the new CDC statistics of 1 in 88 kids and 1 in 54 boys since 2006)? What do you attribute autism to? Vaccines? Environmental reasons? Genetics? I was impressed by her knowledge, by her desire to deconstruct this extremely complicated matter and quite frankly, not to be ageist here, but I have met a few senior citizens that was willing to jump into the whole Autism discussion mess. I have usually attributed it to a generational problem: I do believe, personally, that autism has been around for ages but I also believe due to many reasons, it's risen sharply over the past two decades making it my generation's issue more so than my grandparents issue.
Trust me when I say this: I AM NOT HERE TO DISCUSS THE CAUSE OF AUTISM. Ok, that is SO out of my system. I deeply respect and have nothing but love for all y'all who have dedicated their time, energy, money, ideas, etc., to that cause but baby that ain't me. We all have our place in this journey and that ain't my place.
Whether it's for a laugh or a drink, or a good cry... or a hug. Whatever. The internet has helped so much but it's still not human connection however, I do recognize how it's helped facilitate it. And without it, our community would be even MORE isolated.
I love our community. I love our kids. I love our parents. I love our committment, our dedication, our humor, our ability to achieve in the face of adversity time after time after time and especially that of our kids. I love that we do not take any steps of development for granted. I love that we appreciate the seemingly insignificant as the significance that it truly is. I love that hearing/experiencing the communication of a single word from our child is forever life changing for the both of us. I love that we have not settled for our children who are not neurotypical but that we celebrate them for exactly who they are in their equality with their typical peers and siblings.
I love my rascals for their intelligence, their humor, their courage, their bravery, their emotional attachment, their ability to dig deep into their heart and feel deeply, their willingness and/or ability to express in whatever way they can in that moment, what they are thinking and feeling, their ability to be so in tune with their world and that they invite me into it. Of course there is so much more.... and you'll all hear about it.