Monday, October 01, 2007

Lightening strikes vs. daily life

Today Nathaniel bounced off the bus, came inside and put his shoes on the shoe shelf. Then he took off his socks and didn't know what to do with them - Anna showed him the laundry basket. Little things, little things matter a great deal when you have a child with special needs. My son struggles with autism. There has been a lot in the news lately about autism, and I am thrilled to have people talking. Talk is good, it begins the process of community building - and we need community support not just for "curing" autism but for living with it in our families everyday.

I love my son enormously. Loving Nathaniel has changed me, it has changed everyone in his life. Last week, when everyone was talking about autism, I found myself sad. One of the sad truths about autism is that the grieving never ends, like other catastrophic diseases my sadness about Nathaniel's autism sometimes rules my life and sometimes goes into remission. I'll be chugging along fine, and then it will surprise me out of nowhere. Nathaniel is doing well. He is in a school we love, with a dedicated and kind teacher. He enjoys his bus ride, and is happy at home. Still, when the stories are told on Oprah mostly the stories are of children who had "beaten autism", children who are thriving and making it in typical classrooms. My son is not, and his triumphs (like putting his shoes away) do not balance the barriers he struggles against.

I love him. Give me a good day, and the hope and ferocity to keep on to the next. Peace.

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