Monday, March 24, 2014

I'm Lucky

A couple weeks ago, a parent of a child in my son's class made a comment about his daughter that many people with Autistic kids would take offense to. He said, "I'm lucky, my daughter isn't Autistic, just speech delayed". He was talking to a friend of mine. A fellow mom of a child that does have Autism. And he knew it. 

My friends reaction was "So what....I'm not lucky?"

I love her already. 

But we did agree that he didn't mean it the way it sounded. He has an older child that has more developmental issues and so he knows how tough it can be.

I get this. My son Drew is significantly more affected by Autism than James and I am not going to is very hard sometimes. Did I pray that James would not have Autism when I was pregnant with him? Yes. Andrew has so many struggles and had I been given the choice...I would have moved mountains to make things easier for James. To bring him into a world that is less cruel than the one Andrew experiences every single day.

That said, I do not count myself or my kids as unlucky.

I say the world and the people in it that encounter my kids are lucky to be in their presence.


I'll tell you why.

Andrew has an innocence that so many loose as they grow up. He does not lie. He does not judge. His realness is refreshing in a world where you never truly know what someone thinks of you. He will give everyone he meets the same respect no matter what their circumstances. He is unbiased. I wish I could say the same for me.

James considers everyone his friend. Every person he walks by he says "Hi friend, how are you" and he really means it. It is not a script he replays over and over again. He will make you feel welcome no matter who you are. People are shocked that he does this. I hope it never changes. He has the gift of hospitality and that is something sorely needed in this world. 

I am lucky.

I will never have to wait up for Andrew to get home 2 hours late from a party and worry that he is safe. Or wonder if he has been in a car accident when he doesn't come home. I will never have to say goodbye to him as he goes off to war. He will always want and need me to comfort him when he is hurting. I will be the person he clings to when the world is scary and cold. 

I won't ever really have to say goodbye to Andrew. Because he will always be with us. I will get to experience his smile, love, and joy every single day of his life. 

I am lucky that James has Autism. He will understand his brother more than we can and he will be able to verbalize it. He will have a window into Drew's mind that we can't. James will grow up with an understanding and lack of fear of those who are different. He has a leg up on the rest of us. Best of both worlds really.

So even though our life can be hard at times, it is full of magical moments that so many take for granted. Our home boils over with laughter much more than sadness. With accomplishment more than difficulty. No milestone passes without a lot of happy dances, flapping, and high fives all around. Our walls can barely contain the love and joy, and those who enter it can feel it seep into their soul.

Sounds pretty lucky to me.