I feel like I’ve focused a lot on the negative or frustrating parts of autism. While there is so much that is difficult: the therapies, preschools, new diagnoses, meltdowns, misunderstandings, potty training problems, and cashiers who constantly ask him his name or age and wonder aloud why he isn’t responding (as if I needed to hear that question verbalized!) But the truth is that there are many things about autism, or having a child on the spectrum, that I do like. I thought I should share a few these.
This is what I like about autism:
I love that when you meet a parent of a child on the spectrum you have an instant sense of community, of caring, compassion and unity. It doesn’t matter how old the parent or child, whether its autism, asperger’s or pdd-nos (or even mitochondrial disorder/disease/dysfunction), there is an immediate reaction, a bond that helps buoy you both. Thank heaven for other parents who reach out, open up and lift others.
I love the little secret world and secret language I share with Avi. It brings us so close together. Few can understand the things he says so we get to interpret for him. Few people understand how we talk to him so they just don’t get to come in. I love having something with him that no one else can have. Things like yellow cereal, orange apple, stomp goodbye, shev and others are our little secrets. J
I love the constant state of spiritual wonder this has placed me in. Being a father has taught me many things. My sons have taught me many spiritual truths which I never could have learned otherwise. Though it seems Avi is some times in his own world he often comes back to ours to astound with a word, phrase or sentence. One thing that fills me with spiritual wonder is a dream I have of kneeling before the Savior, washing his feet in my tears and thanking Him for the unrivaled, unparalleled and unimaginable sacrifice He committed on the part of His unworthy and undeserving brothers and sisters. Then rising I stand (finally understanding fully the hymn “I Stand All Amazed!”) and turn to see my son made whole and perfect in everyway through the majestic merits of our Savior. Even now I weep at the thought of His power’s endless reach. He, in that moment of awful agony, could have chosen to let that cup pass, but instead He embraced it and so doing embraced us. God be thanked for perfect paternal love that sent a beloved Son to wayward and prodigal children! I hope that I can hold faithful and true so that some day I can experience this dream and thank Him for his support, comfort and forgiveness. God be thanked for His Son!
Lastly, I love Avi, my Avi. He it is that I love first, last and best about autism; if fact he is the best thing ever to happen to autism! Such a sweet and beautiful soul, one in whom there truly is no guile! Each “I love you!” each “Abba” each kiss is precious, a long awaited and jealously guarded treasure. I wish each parent could feel the pure joy of so small an expression. I love the little kisses he gives to Itai and that as much as he protests having him share his toys, and books and his life in general, he still prefers him to be there for baths, for shopping trips and even for late night laughs.
While not everything is as I would have planned I have truly learned from an amazing talk by Elder Wirthlin entitled, “Come What May and Love It.” This simple phrase is marvelously eloquent and wise. It is a wonder to have so many good things in my life: a wonderful wife, two beautiful sons and life that is better than I had right to hope for. I hope that no matter what the future holds I can say, “Come what may” and truly love it.