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.