Monday, September 21, 2009

"It's a Clue!"

Tonight I am sitting here filled with love and gratitude for my little boy Sam. I spent an hour settling him down before he finally fell asleep. We brushed his teeth, said prayers, he didn't want to read a book or sing songs tonight. Most of the hour was spent arranging every "silky" blanket just so. The quilt had to be pulled up to his chin and tucked around him and his silkies. The closet light had to be on and his sippy cup of chocolate milk by his side. His puppy silky wasn't in the mix, so we had to locate it and start the process all over again. After several more false starts, Sam finally announced, "Night, Night", and was asleep in 5 minutes. The routine rarely varies, except in length.

Last month Samuel was diagnosed with autism. Since that time we have been navigating the many twists and turns you take as parents trying to find what is best for your child. I was feeling very overwhelmed one day and found the following as an introduction for a workshop that was being held and Brigham Young University Women's Conference. These few words bought great comfort and I think they apply, not only to those who are affected by Autism, but by all of us who have any sort of trial in their life. I love the phrase, "By celebrating what's right, we find the energy to fix what's wrong."

Dewitt Jones, a photographer for National Geographic coined the phrase, “By celebrating what’s right, we find the energy to fix what’s wrong.” For so many of us, autism is what is wrong. These days, autism frequently hits very close to home. It defines a son, a daughter, a neighbor, a niece, a student, a friend, a husband, or even oneself. We grieve with each new diagnosis, we exhaust our resources trying to research and reverse its effects, we weep through sleepless nights when it pierces our aching hearts. And then to our surprise, we rejoice and celebrate the unexpected gifts that autism has brought us. We find that though autism challenges us, it doesn't take away our happiness. In fact, through our eternal perspective, we find more than comfort. This adversity has taught us to “be of good cheer, and…not fear, for...the Lord (is) with (us), and will stand by (us).” D&C 68:6. Come meet the faces of autism. Learn not only what autism is, but how much we enjoy the unique and powerful gifts from our autistic loved ones. Celebrate with us what is right with the wonderful faces autism, and together we can fix what’s wrong.

Sam loves "Blue's Clues". He will be walking along and then all of sudden will slap his hand down and say, "It's a clue! It's a clue!" Just like they say on the TV show. Like most Mums, I've always been sensitive to how people judge my children. I think that trait has become even more evident with Sam. As I watch and hear people make a judgement on what they perceive to be bad behavior, my urge to protect him kicks into overdrive. To be honest, the urge to share my nastier side bubbles to the surface as well. I want to tell them to "Get a clue!"

I love walking into the study and finding all the sticky notes unstuck from the sticky note pad and lined up along the desk. Whatever is left on the kitchen counter is usually lined up precisely along the edge of the said counter. We don't have Stonehenge on our kitchen floor, we have Sodahenge. Sam loves to spell words and sing songs. When I have the hiccups, on every hiccup he tells me, "Say pardon me!" He loves to help around the house and is very passionate about french fries. Samuel takes my hand and says, "Show Mummy." As we walk hand in hand on this journey I hope that I can remember to celebrate what is right and always find the strength to fix what is wrong.

Samuel is a gift

I love him



Parker Family said...

He is def a gift! An awesome one! I remember hearing when he was born! He is sucha n awesome little boy! I love that quote, and who cares what everyone else thinks! I know with these days a lot of moms are very cautious about what others think! But we know whats best for our children! You are doing awesome with that wonderful little boy!

Jennifer said...

You have more strength than I could ever imagine. I hope you are able to stand up when everything seems to be knocking you down.

JenniferB said...

Believe in yourself and your son and he will thrive! I work at a school with a young man (grade 4) who has autism and he has quirks, sure, but he has made friends and we continue, along with his parents, to find ways to help him succeed. I know your Sam will do so also, because he has loving parents who will help him, guide him, cheer for him and love him!