Many people, more knowledgeable than I for sure, have posted profound essays about autism. Many books have been written about the subject as well. I have a read a few blogs and essays, but now I find myself researching in earnest due to a friendship that has blossomed. Once the friendship cemented and started to grow, I found myself fascinated by my friend’s oldest child. He, as you probably guessed, has autism. Or maybe autism has him. I’m still deciding how I “should” think (according to the experts.)
Some get offended if I say “an autistic child” because they feel that I stress the autism when the child matters more. They prefer the use of “a child with autism.” Other experts preach that parents shouldn’t wish for their autistic child to not have autism as it would change the specialness of said child. I’ve reached the point where I throw the bull crap flag at that view. I, for one, would like to know who that sweet child would be without the influence of autism. It would be such a gift for that child to be able to tell me what he is wishing for, thinking, feeling. I consider autism a disease, not a special quality.
I’ve been a problem solver all of my life, and this situation isn’t any different. It’s actually one of the most important puzzles I’ve ever seen. The maddening part is that I have no idea how to figure it out. That does not mean, however, that I will simply shrug and walk away. I’ve seen my friend cry too many tears to stand by and do nothing.
After falling in love with my friend’s littles, I have discovered a cold, hard truth: autism is painful. It hurts a parent’s heart to watch the wall build up, all the while removing a child from the rest of the family. Autism shreds a parent’s heart piece by piece. Anyone who loves the child is affected.
With the current diagnosis rate of 1 out of every 68 children, maybe we all need to do some studying!
It seems like every time I read the news, there’s another headline about a flight attendant kicking an innocent kid and/or family off of an airplane. It really makes me angry on behalf of the families. I think today’s flight attendants are missing the point of their job—it is to provide service to customers who have paid a high price for that service. If a customer is drunk and/or menacing, please have that person escorted off of the flight! If a kid is crying and needs warm milk or an Aspie child needs a snack to provide comfort and a bit of joy, provide some heated milk or a snack! It’s your JOB! That’s part of the service you are on board to provide.
If you are unhappy with your life choices and feel powerless, go find another job. Don’t go on a power trip by berating an already embarrassed parent of a crying toddler. Stop bullying children who can’t help their actions. You are making the situation worse and making yourself look like the small person you are.
It reminds me of the time my (older) daughter and I were on a Greyhound bus from Virginia to Georgia to visit a friend. It was about nine at night, and she was sitting on my lap giggling. She was tired and trying to stay awake. Others on the bus were quiet and napping or thinking profound thoughts. I tried to shush her, but it made her laugh anyway.
The bus driver gave us a couple of stink eyes before he motioned me forward to say, “Would you keep your kid quiet? People are trying to sleep.” I didn’t miss a beat and replied, “I have a great idea! Why don’t you keep her quiet, and I’ll drive the bus!” I marched back to my seat, and we made it to our destination with no further issues.
Suffice it to say that I believe most flight attendants love their job and are good at it. It’s the bad ones getting the press coverage that makes them all look bad. That’s a real shame.
This is last thing I wanted to write on a Saturday night, but I had an eye-opening experience and would like to ask you some questions.
Have you ever listened to your child’s iPod playlist? You should. You might be (unpleasantly) surprised by what you hear. If you think you shouldn’t “invade little Billy’s privacy,” think again. Anything in your home falls under your jurisdiction.
Have you ever driven around town while your child is supposed to be at a dance or church meeting? You should. You might be surprised by who you see and where.
Do you verify your child’s story? You should. Sometimes a child will say enough to allow a parent to jump to an erroneous conclusion. The child can then say, “But I didn’t lie!” A deliberate omission is just as bad as an outright lie.
I came home and asked my own child some very pointed questions. I got some enlightening answers. Maybe you should do the same.
A fellow parent
Have you ever hugged your pet(s)? What about snuggling? If you are a furkid parent, I’m sure you have! According to Merriam Webster’s online dictionary, hug means “to put your arms around someone especially as a way of showing love or friendship.” A snuggle is defined as “to lie or sit close together in a comfortable position.” As a parent of both 2-legged kids and 4-legged kids, I admit that I have hugged and snuggled. My teen daughter, however, goes above and beyond. She huggles our dogs and cats.
Ysabela says a huggle is different because she holds the beloved animal tighter than for a hug, and she likes to huggle with a blanket.
Proper hugging technique (according to Ysabela)
1. Watching a loving father care for his child(ren)
2. Well-behaved, loved children
3. Animals finding good homes
5. A job well done
6. Time with friends and family
8. Time to read and write
9. Learning new things
10. A good cup of coffee
My neighbor in Mexico
On cold days like today, I miss Mexico more and more. It’s not just the temperature, you understand; it’s the warmth of hanging out with friends and family that I miss so much—having some bonding time at Oxxo or Italian Coffee, laughing at nothing just because we can, people-watching and enjoying the bartering in the market.
I have friends in Nebraska, but I’ve only been here four years. I still classify people as “work” friends or “people I know.” For me, it takes much longer than four years to form a strong, real friendship. My friends—the ones I really count on—can be numbered on one hand. They have been through hard times with me, and we have come out stronger for it. People who know me in Virginia or Mexico have a much deeper understanding of who I am than people I’ve met here in my adopted town. I’m not saying anything negative about people here; it simply IS. It takes a long time for me to really trust someone. A gal I know said I have trust issues. Not true. I’m just not stupid or easy to know.
I can call my friends, wherever they may be, and we can start our conversation where we left off before no matter how long it’s been since we chatted. My best friend knows how I drink my coffee, what I think about politics, and how I raise my kids. She also knows how to guard a secret and watch my back. The same things make us laugh. Or cry. She knows my deepest regrets, and she still respects me in spite of my failings. THAT is true friendship.
Friendship takes time!
Ysabela and her friend, Gidalty