Saturday, June 6, 2009

A person and a reader

"In this world, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.

Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant."

as said by Elwood P. Dowd, played by Jimmy Stewart, in "Harvey"


You know, when I started this blog, I had an idea. I thought that rather then concentrating on just autism, I would instead focus on how autism affected my family. I wanted to do it in such a way that any person could relate to. Whether they had an autistic child or not. I wanted to show people that our life really wasn't that much different than theirs. Oh sure, most people don't have a kid who stims or refuses to take off their snow pants in the spring. I just wanted to find a relatable way to portray what autism is to us-a way that I have never seen in popular media. I want to make people laugh. Sort of like an autism/family humorist.

I choose to focus on the positive. Sure, I could write about the early years. The years when both Omar and myself survived mostly on as little as two hours of sleep a night. (How we conceived our daughters..it is a blur-although I think that I would remember an angel coming down to chat with me...so I have to assume that Omar is the papa) I could focus on the freak outs, lack of language...lack of desire to potty train...but really, why? What purpose would that serve-except to make me some sort of victim or martyr. I am so not a victim, and besides, I am saving martyr-hood for adolescence!(as is any parents right)

So I guess you are wondering what the point of this post is..Today, I had a sad thing happen. Which was later followed by a great thing. I was talking to a friend. Over the past month or so, we have been discussing autism, how it affects the kids, our family...but mostly about how great all my kids are. The joy that I have-how lucky I am. Today, I brought up something I had read, about a parent saying that they would choose death over autism for their child. I was about to go into how very sad I felt for that person...how lost and confused and downright WRONG they were , when I was interrupted(by my friend) who AGREED with this person!! Talk about being knocked on my ass...blown away..rendered speechless !(very hard to do to me) Hadn't she heard a single word that I had said! I asked her one thing...I said "Don't you think my children have value?" Needless to say, the conversation ended quickly after that.

I was pondering this later-more like fuming..as I was watching the herd ride their bikes. We all have choices in this life. I could choose to debate against autism "victims"..(there are excellent blogs that do so) but that is simply not my forte. So what are my options? Oh so smart...or oh so pleasant? For me, the choice is pleasant everytime. Either you get it or you don't. Obviously, my friend didn't. As this was going through my head, Oscar came running to me. He was angry because Lily was calling him a baby. He said "I am not a baby! I am a PERSON! I am a READER!" I thought to myself..."You are also not autism...you are Oscar..joyful, funny, and loving. Perfect."

7 comments:

Tania said...

Kathleen, you are right. Our children are not just a 'diagnosis' I think their ASD makes them more interesting individuals than neurotypical children - they always have some new way of looking at the world, some unintentionally funny comment, some way of making us better people ourselves. Normal is boring! See my new blog for just such an example - (notasadvertised.blogspot.com) Keep the faith - your kids have a great mum! Tania (specialneedsmum)

KWombles said...

Crap, Kathleen, I'm sorry that happened to you. I don't get it, and I suppose I never will: these parents who feel death or non-existence better than a child with autism or another disability. I suspect they are the same 90% of people who, given a positive amnio for down syndrome, choose to abort.

They deprive themselves of joy, of wisdom, of humility, of awe,of appreciation for each and everything that unfolds before us. We have climbed steep mountains, gone where few have gone, and we have come through it with our humor intact, our joy and appreciation enhanced. Our children have value, have worth, have beauty, no matter the level of disability, and each child born should be recognized as a joy and an opportunity to grow beyond oneself, beyond one's limitations.

Will this 'friend' read your blog and see your words?


Together, we'll continue to scale our mountains and work to make this world a better place for our children, all our children.

kathleen said...

You know, I am used to hearing stupidity from people who don't understand-or choose to be "victims"...but when it is close to home-wow...it really throws you.@Tania-Yes, normal IS boring. I prefer my life the way it is...unpredictable and chaotic!
@kim-yes-we just have to keep pushing-we can and will make a better world...as for my friend reading this...if she couldn't hear my words..I don't expect her to comprehend them in writing...

Casdok said...

Yes our children are not just a lable, thats one of the reasons i started the Faces of Autism blog to show the world exactly that.
Thank you for the wonderful photo.

Maddy said...

It seems we share similar goals and perspectives. I still haven't quite worked out the best response to autism is worse than.....fill in the blank. I should probably chat to a pal of mine who has a child who has recently recovered from cancer. The whole family has been to hell and back. I can't even imagine how traumatic that would be and yet still people go on and on about 'worse than......'
Have a great weekend [yes I know it's only Wednesday but I have to pack]
Cheers

3laine said...

As an Aspie, and older sister of a 12 year old autistic boy, I know that neither of us would be the same without our autism. If Daniel wasn't autistic, I would never have discovered my own AS, or I would never have had the courage to 'come out' as an Aspie.
Daniel loves watching Big Brother and even won 'Actor of the Year' in school. He is certainly NOT a 'victim' and life would be very dull without him.
I only 'came out' as an Aspie a few months ago. My supervisor in college very kindly told me that: 'Whatever your label, you're still you!' I just hope that other people outside of college are just as understanding.

kathleen said...

@Casdok-thank you for that wonderful site
@Maddy-In my humble opinion-there is nothing worse than doing load after load of laundry! Yes similar goals etc. etc. We will change the world-one laugh at a time perhaps?
@3laine-what a wonderful college supervisor! She was absolutely right in what she said-and there are many many people who think just that way. I hope that you run into more of them than negative people.I agree-it is my thought that many people choose the role of victim for all the wrong reasons. I know that my life would be so very empty without my herd. They are all unique and individual-and just plain wonderful!