Sunday, February 27, 2011

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

Yesterday was kind of an odd day for the little guy. While he's been very engaged and happy and giggly lately, he suddenly took a turn for the closed-off. We thought he was maybe toying with a virus or something. Figures. Anyway, I tried throughout the day to get him to look at me, stay on my lap and sing clumsily with me like he does. He wouldn't.

Just before bedtime, then, he was riding around on his little car when I caught his eye. He was saying something I couldn't really understand. "Sawww" or "swaaww" or something. George was like, "Star! That's right, buddy!"

I jumped on it. "Twinkle, twinkle, little star...," I sang loudly.

His glance stopped on my eyes, and suddenly, he was with us again.

"How I wonder what you are...," I continued.

Silence. But he looked off in a corner, so quietly, so pensively.


I didn't freak out. He's sung that part before, and lots. But it did make me smile. I felt like I hadn't seen this little guy all day.

"Tinko, tinko, wiwa taww."

George and I looked at each other. He'd heard the same thing I did, unbelievably. I mean, sometimes I think my mind fills in too many blanks and I end up the mother of, like, a nonverbal son, who thinks her little guy can spit out sentences. But he heard it too. I'm not crazy.

Oh, William. Sometimes I wonder what you are, but, end of the day, it doesn't even matter. You just shine so bright.

Monday, February 14, 2011

In Celebration of Love

I've always disliked this holiday. I mean, it's just so squishy and ooey gooey and is only allowed to be celebrated by people "in love." It always seemed cheesy and unfair to me, so from the very beginning of my relationship with my husband, I said we will not be celebrating Valentine's Day. He was like, awesome.

We will, however, be celebrating it from now on. This was the day William chose to say "I love you" for the first time. And he said it to me.

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Good Enough

It's interesting how I think about my son.

I often times think about him as sickly, different, neurologically unhealthy. And then, when someone suffers loss or I become, for one reason or another, acutely aware of worse suffering in the world...I realize I have a healthy little family. It's not that autism "isn't so bad" or anything like that. It is. It's awful. But guess what? I've never sat at my kid's bedside in the hospital, pleading with God for his life. Maybe we're lucky, because plenty of parents of autistic kids have done it. But we have not suffered in that way, and for that, I'm thankful.

I think of autism and what it takes from us all the time. What I fail to think about is what it doesn't take from us, or what it actually gives us. To clarify that last part--I hate it when people say "God gave us autism because of A, or because he wanted B to happen, blah blah." That's nonsense. God didn't give us autism. He certainly didn't allow it so that we could find sweet little blessings within it. If he did, he's a sadistic, awful being in whom I have absolutely zero interest, unless you count the interest I'd have in his demise. No, God didn't go handing out autism and pick our son as a winner. Human greed messed up the earth, and my son's autism is a very sad result. But I think God blesses those who suffer. And He's blessed us immeasurably by giving him a beautiful mind, and making us daily witnesses to his brilliant intelligence and sweet spirit. That is certainly worthy of taking up space in my mind, and it doesn't nearly enough.

As I write this, William is learning to say, "help." He's playing with a little wind-up dump truck. Yeah, he's playing with it all wrong. You're supposed to wind it up and put it on the floor, watching it zip around the room and spin in circles. Instead, William just holds it and listens to the winding mechanism whir, and watches the wheels spin. I don't care. Know why? Because when it stops going, he hands it to me, looks me dead in the eye, and I make him sign "help." A few times, he's abandoned signing completely in order to whisper "help" in my ear. Well, it's more like "hep," but that's good enough for me.

All of this, right now, is good enough for me. It won't hold, I can guarantee that. But it is really, really good to have a moment like this.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Last night, we watched the Temple Grandin movie. Unbelievable.

I was putting off watching it. I was thinking it would be one of those movies that is fairly enjoyable for everyone else to watch, but excruciating for me because of how painfully it reflects what we feel every day. I figured, someday I'll be ready to watch it, but not right now.

I think it was one of those I-just-gotta-do-it things. I finally just rented it, and as much as it did reflect her struggles (and in a perfectly heart-rending way), I couldn't believe how often throughout the movie I laughed. Most of the time, autism is what has me crying hysterically, begging God to magically put our boy to sleep, or pounding my fist into my desk because I'm reading the 812th recipe for granola that doesn't work. But on a rare occasion, it's the thing that gives me the biggest laugh of the whole day. And when I say laugh, I don't mean a laugh-at-the-weirdo kind of laugh. I'm talking about the warmest, fuzziest joyful laugh that comes from a bright appreciation of something so unique, I can't even help myself.

Worth noting is how surprised I was by my own laughter. We're still only four months into his diagnosis, so I must say, we're in the thick of it. Everything is a fight, every bit of new information is both devastating and expensive (not to mention a brand-new process to think about) I guess it makes sense that I'm defining this whole thing by our experience with it so far. But who's to say we don't have a life full of laughter ahead? Who says we won't have a life punctuated by moments of pride, hope, and gratitude?

After watching the movie last night, I became sure of it. My little guy's mind is and will be more beautiful than I ever could have imagined.