Monday, October 29, 2012

Mostly smiles, some tears, no jeers

The title pretty much sums up what yesterday, the Louisiana Autism Speaks inaugural Walk was for us, as a family. Morgan had the greatest time! We had explained to him what the walk was about, leaving out Autism Speaks' mission about finding a "cure" for autism. If we had done that, he would have balked outright. He kept looking around and asking me "are ALL of these people autistic?" It kind of cracked me up. But after a while, he just, well, let go.


He became MORGAN. The Morgan that very few people really get to see. The one that toots like a train, grumbles and grunts low in his throat, tells Thomas stories non stop, and had a blast. He played with so many auties, it was just wonderful. All of those people, being themselves, in an environment where they could be themselves.

Walking and SINGING!

I met a lot of lovely people yesterday and witnessed wonderful, sometimes heartbreaking, tender moments. I thought I might spend my day crying. For one, that a Walk like this is even needed breaks my heart a bit. But it breaks my heart no more than childhood cancer, adult cancer, AIDS, etc., walks do. It's here, we have to deal with it, don't go all Chicken Little with it, and COPE.

You could see "it" in a lot of our faces. I say "our" because my husband and I captured it for both of us, completely candid- the LOVE. During the singing of the National Anthem, there was a mother and her daughter standing in front of us. The daughter, who must have been nearly my age (almost 30), was flapping her left hand and starting to make a keening sound. I believe she was starting to have sensory overload. She was profoundly autistic and had her left hand's fingers arched back at such an angle I honestly wondered how they didn't break. Then, her mom did "the beautiful thing." She took her daughter's hand (the left one) and converted the flapping and arching fingers into a waving motion. The autistic woman went from looking like she was going to have a meltdown to looking as if she were directing a beautiful concert; a smile came upon her face. I cried.

I walked up to the mother after the Anthem was over to tell her "what you just did for your daughter was beautiful. The world needs more parents like you." She, too, had tears in her eyes and said, "We can't help but love them, can we? They're only our children once." That statement alone made me tear up even more.

"They're only our children once." How true. Morgan and his daddy.

I love my son, no matter what, as do (I hope) all of those parents there yesterday. But you could see another "it" in a lot of their faces: the agony, the stress, the pure anger, almost malice, and the "I'm not coping, I'm going through the motions of having an autistic person amongst me" in their faces. Thing is, a lot of those parents had kids that seemed a lot like my child. These weren't the parents who had kids in strollers at the age of 10, who had non verbal children- they had high spirited, highly intelligent children that wouldn't, for the lack of a better term "shut up," lol.

That's what killed me. The ones who seemed, to an outsider, to have it "the worst" smiled the most.

My family and I walked for a little boy who loves trains. He was singing his Thomas the Tank Engine songs, telling the stories, talking about anything and everything, petting the dogs people brought, trick-or-treating along the path (great idea, Autism Speaks!!), tooting  and beeping, and NO ONE CARED! I loved it.

With the boy I walk for, walking with me
The nice man who took this chopped off Bay's head- whoops.

I had to laugh at one woman who crawled her kid's butt for slapping one of the AS signs. He was clearly stimming his happy little behind off and I had already shooed him away from the sign, as I was taking pics of all of the signs. She apologized for her son's "behavior" and I outright laughed saying, "lady, if there is a place and time for our kids to stim and be themselves, it's today and NOW!" She smiled uncertainly and walked away.

My big embarrassment (for me, as a parent, not a member of the autism community) was that Bay was acting like such a jerk,  no less than 13 people asked me how did I deal with have two auties. Do I medicate him, and my personal fave "how long has he been diagnosed?" I had to explain to those good people that as far as I can see, Bay is a NT, but very jealous of his brother's ASD. We're going through a rough patch right now and he was really showing his behind yesterday.

Pre-walk, bay getting a lecture on how to behave. Already had five people ask about his "autism." I actually told someone he just had "gingeritis."

All in all though, yesterday was beautiful. Cold, but beautiful. I think I saw more of humanity than I ever dreamed existed in the world. The best part? Morgan was "with his people." Love that boy.


  1. that. Gets it from his mom?;)

    1. Definitely! I get called a firecracker quite a bit and own that proudly :)