I recently was following a post from a single mom of a child with many issues, the most severe is seizures and autism, and apparently, some mental handicaps as well. Her daughter is the light of her life, and at times, seems to be the most driving force in her work with children, her time with Special Olympics, and her job, as a public servant to protecting our community. I can not even begin to list the countless places she spends her time serving us, however, it her recent post made me think of one of my favorite quotes I read when I was about ten years old.
Back in the 80's, my parents would buy a Sunday Paper. The paper was fun back then. I found Dave Barry, the comics, the Parade issue, and sometimes I would read over the coupons to see if there were any candy coupons. I think I was younger than ten when I found a coupon for a free packet of gum. My mom took me to the store and let me use it, and from that point on, I was hooked on coupons. (Never been much for gum though.) There was this section of the Parade pull out that had this quote that said something to the effect that based on science, a bumble bee should not be capable of flying. It's wingspan is too short based on the rest of the body to produce the right amount of lift, and the bumblebee is covered in hair, not feathers, and that hair is much heavier than feathers. Therefore, the bumblebee should not be physically able to fly. However, nobody told the bumblebee, so, it flies merrily along.
I have always loved that quote. I had, at one time, the little cut out quote in my room. I always thought that was such an amazing analogy to my own life. Part of me thought I was dumber than dirt and wanted an IQ test to prove that I was right about that. The other part of me was afraid to know that I was that dumb, and feared even taking the fake IQ tests on the internet. (Guess I was smart enough to know they were fake, huh?)
In the post, my aquaintence commented on how her daughters' IQ score was low, however, we might never know her full potential based on an IQ test. Her daughter is capable of demonstrating all sorts of other gifts, and abilities, but I doubt they measure the ability to speak through an iPad app like the little boy who was in ABA therapy with Charlie, many years ago, when they told that mother that her son may never communicate with her. I bet they don't test the math side of her brain when she is able to remember music and what effects music has on us. While her daughter has many more struggles than we do, she is a happy child, and I don't believe that ignorance is bliss. I believe that she appreciates life because of her own abilities, not because of those she lacks.
Chaz and Shay were playing in the child care center at the YMCA one day this past Spring. After we got into the car, Shay couldn't stop telling me about this one child who hit other children, including Charlie, and wouldn't listen to the adults, and was not behaving. I knew who she was talking about, and explained that it was a good thing that they were there, because he had autism, like Charlie and Daddy, and it was good because he would have an opportunity to learn how to behave by watching how other children behaved. They would effectively, model neurotypical behavior. Charlie stopped, and said, "Wait! I have autism?" Uhhhh.. yes, I thought he knew this. What an odd way to find something like this out, right? I said yes, and he immediately said, "What do you have?" I told him I had him, and that was enough. I also told him I had glasses, Shay had glasses, and Daddy had hearing aides and glasses, along with Autism. Daddy is all sorts of f'ed up when you think of it. Oh, and he is flat footed but occasionally walks on his toes, but I think that goes back to the Autism umbrella, and we love him. We are all different, and to accept and love like Jesus does, we have to learn to accept what is before us. We don't have to like it, and sometimes, we get mad at it, but we accept the challenges, and know that everything for a reason.
I have always wanted Charlie to know he had autism. I know a 39 year old man that didn't know he was on the autism spectrum until he was in his mid-30's. Must be hard to know you are different, but not sure why or how. Once he found out, he seemed relieved. He joined and talked to many other adults with his diagnosis on the internet. Years have passed, and from what I understand, he might be in denial about his diagnosis, but I remember those early days when he talked about being grateful for knowing that there was a reason he felt different. Because, he was. We all are. I want Charlie to know that he is capable of anything he sets his heart on. Not because I say so, but because I am not limiting his talents, I am telling him that while speaking is difficult, if he wants to be an actor, or a priest, or radKIDS instructor, the career paths of choice right now, he will have to work hard to be understood. (I'm grateful he doesn't want to be in a circus. I am pretty much anti circus at this point, and would have to disown him if he insisted.) Or at least, boycott his show, PETA-style, and hug a tree wearing all organic fiber cloth and not wear any deodorant because appearantly, it is animal cruelty to put anti-persperant on a small rodent. I don't know why the makers of this stuff feel a need to put it on animals, however, I am grateful that my salt lick my only damage me and not a rodent. And by the way, I still sweat, and still smell, so I think I might need to find out what deodorant Mickey Mouse uses and switch over since this crap isn't working so much.