I look at them, these children of mine. Each so different..so complex..so absolutely divine. I think about autism...and that three of mine are on the spectrum....each in different places..different needs..different people.
I think about my oldest, Sammy. How when he was a year old..he seemed to disappear..slowly going into his own world..a world without eye contact..a world without speech. I think about how scared I was..and lost..and utterly confounded. About how to get him back. I remember when I realized that he had never left..that he was always there...always listening. Always hearing..my voice. How important my voice was.
I think about Oscar..who for so long could not speak..could not ask..could not tell. I remember when it seemed that all he could do was scream..And again I was scared..and lost...and utterly confounded. I remember thinking I can not do this..and then thinking if not me then who? I remember when he discovered music..and could find peace. I remember rocking him to that music and his heart beating next to mine. I remember sharing that peace. I remember when I was his sole voice and realizing he was the voice of my soul. I remember how important my voice has been.
I think about Lily who is not on the spectrum. Whose voice and opinion are both so loud. I remember looking at her and thinking how do I do this-she is not like them. How scared I was and lost and confounded. How would I raise this girly girl next to brothers who are so different?
I remember looking at her, playing alongside her brothers..adoring them and simultaneously driving them crazy. I listen to her tell company "this is my brother Oscar...sometimes he says "eeeeeee"!" There is no shame, no contempt. It is what it is and it suits her. I recognize in her, my voice. I realize its importance...its impact.
I think about my baby girl Zoe. Who just now is in the process of being diagnosed. This time, I am not so scared, nor lost, nor confounded. I just have to look at my other three and see that there is nothing to be afraid of. I think about how overwhelmed she gets in crowds with noise and change. I think about how she looks to me to keep her safe...how she will snuggle in close to hear only my voice. I think about how important my voice is...
I think about the post on AoA..in which a mother speaks of death, and hatred, and disgust..I think about her child. I think about the voice that she hears..and I am confounded and she is so lost. I think about using my voice..to silence this vitriol.
Mostly, I think about my children..and what a privilege it is to be their mother..and an honor and a joy. Through them, I have found my voice...and I am no longer scared.