I dont know where she got it…

…but it wasnt from me.

When talking with Madison, I often wonder if Im talking to myself. Not all the time, but a majority of the time, its like she can read my mind. She says what Im thinking, and tends to know, just by looking, if I think what shes about to do is ok or not. Maybe it’s a girl thing, the intuitiveness that she has. I couldn’t be for sure.

Its been a long while, as it often is, since I have sat down to talk with just her. To spend some time, with just her. And while I know those days are going to be quickly coming to an end, I figured I would try and squeeze another one in. Its not something I ever plan on, although it might make things easier. Its just something, that happens, and I find us with a block of time where there will be no interruptions for either one of the boys. Which is where this afternoon found us, when I picked her up from a friends.

She picked a place, and not 15 minutes later I had heard all about her week, the time when I was gone, her school, her teachers and everything else that was on her mind. I slugged back my coffee, and she chipped away at the sugar loaded drink that would eventually, kick me in the rear end.

It was quiet for a few minutes, both of us lost in our own thoughts, when she broke the silence with her question of the decade. The one that stumps me for years to come, and sits in that place in my mind begging to be answered. “Why does Josh have to go to therapy.” her words stopped and hung off that invisible cliff…and as I scrambled to find an answer, she continued on as she often does, trying to find an answer to her own question.

Everything she said, was tinted with a question, and she wasn’t finding the answers she was hoping for. Why did he go to therapy, if we were suppose to love him how he was. Why did he attend special classes, if he was ok how he was. Why did he need extra help, if he was ok. And most importantly…why do people use words like “Different” and other words, if he isn’t?

She knows to an extent, what Josh has been through. That he has some problems, that he needs some help. That we will love him, no matter what, and that isn’t something I have had to tell them, its something that they have showed me. They know that Josh needs help with certain things, that he reacts differently than other kids, but to them, he is “Normal” he is Josh, and I don’t want that to change. I don’t want them looking at him through different eyes, just because someone else may be, and I certainly don’t want my thoughts, and my doubt to rub off on them.

I didn’t have a speech prepared, didn’t have time to get all my thoughts in order, and so I muddled my way through. Josh has a few problems, that he needs help to over come, and so forth. He might be different, but we all are different, and so forth and so on. When I got to the end of my speech, she had a confused look on, and I could tell I was about to be done in by a 12 year old.

“Yea…I know all that” she could have rolled her eyes in disgust. After all, she is the one constantly reminding everyone, by her acts, that no matter what, she will love them.

“But why…”

She paused, and I braced myself for the big one.

“But why doesn’t anyone else?”

She continued on. Saying that she understands this, and she knows all of that, and beyond, but wondered why other people, didn’t.

And when I didn’t have an answer to her question, she went on to attempt an answer for herself.

She mentioned that a few of her class mates had asked her about Josh, and asked her what “His problem was” and when she replied saying that he didn’t HAVE any problems, they all just laughed at her. Why. She wondered. If it was so simple, why couldn’t they understand?

This kid has got smarts beyond her years, or atleast, beyond MY years. How was I suppose to explain something to her, that I didn’t understand, and like so many times before, I had to confess to her that I didn’t know.

Which was nothing new. She already KNEW that, she said. To which, of course, I had to laugh at.

She asked a few more questions, taking herself back down to my level, and as we got ready to leave, she ended the conversation by saying that if they didn’t understand, then she would just have to teach them how to understand…

She tossed her cup away, and as the sugar began to fill her blood stream, her goofy, fun filled, 12 year old self returned, and she took off running down the road.

…and like so many many times before, Im left trying to understand the dust that she leaves behind…

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One comment

  1. Awesome Dave! Really awesome.

    I am so happy to hear that you are finding time (and I know it is hard) for Madison. Her questions and answers (that cracks me up) to you let you know so much about her and what she is thinking. She trusts you Dave.

    Put a name on Josh’s problems and explain why he is different, he has autism. Madison and Dylan have more control over kids asking questions about Josh if they can simply say that he has autism – no, they don’t know what causes it and there isn’t a cure. There is just hope that, with love and therapy he will learn to cope with the world around him.

    You know, if you asked Madison to help you organize the chores at your house I bet she would. Maybe a chart for doing the dishes and laundry. Everyone picks up after themselves and rules for laundry – where do you put dirty clothes and when you put away clean clothes. If she helps set the rules, she will help enforce them.

    Good job Dave.

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