Lately, more so than usual, I have been mulling over something, or someone rather.
April is autism awareness month, and as a result more and more people have written their thoughts, opinions, real life experiences, etc. and posted them online for everyone to read. Ive read a lot of different thoughts these past few weeks. Read things that I could agree with, things that I hadnt thought of, and things, in general, that made me think about things in a whole new way.
One thing that grabbed my attention the most was a picture that read: I love someone with autism.
It hit me in more than one way.
When Emmy first died, I had a lot of guilt and while I still do, its not as strong as it was those first few years. Whenever I would mention these thoughts to someone, they were quick to always respond with “But you loved her” and yes. I did, love her. So much. But love, I would always say, had nothing to do with anything. I loved her, and she still died. I loved her, but love didnt have much to do with anything. I loved her because she was my daughter, but love, couldnt do anything to save her.
Im not quick to love. Im not quick to open up to just anyone, or let myself love or be loved by just anyone. Something that I work on, but still struggle with. Loving the kids hasnt been easy, not because I dont love them, but because of what love means to me, and how it applies in these situations. Yes, I love the kids, but its a guarded love. I love them, very much. But love can only go so far, and do so much, and I dont want love to get in the way of anything. I dont want love to make me do something or not do something. I love them, yes, but I want to make sure they get the best that they deserve, without my emotions being a part of it.
But the truth is, I do love someone with autism.
Even though I am thousands of miles away from him, I still think about him, and the other kids. I still worry about him (and them) and wonder what they are up to. I miss them to a degree, and love them with a guarded love.
…and then I got to thinking.
About love, about autism. About Josh. About life.
One thing that I read, was a post that really didnt have much to do with the autism awareness month, but rather just a day-to-day experience that someone who deals with autism on a daily basis, had written about. About how her daughter, who has autism, and is making great “progress” was beginning to realize that she isnt like everyone else…and how maybe this was encouraging her more.
It confuses me, so much. That line that seems almost invisible at times but is so strongly defined at others. The line between pushing that kid who you love so much, to just fit in…while at the same time your telling those kids who would be defined AS being “normal” that there isnt anything wrong with not fitting in and that they dont have to go with the flow and do what everyone else is.
Yes, I love someone with autism. But I also love someone without it. Yes I love the boy that Josh is, and is turning into. Yes I love the “Progress” that he is showing. Yes I love that he can do more things with less trouble. Yes I love that people are willing to help him. But I also love the boy that he is….and is turning into. I love the different dimension that he adds, and the different outlook he has and gives. I love that he can find pleasure in things that other people would pass by.
I like the thought of one day, he might be able to just fit in, and not have to worry…but I also dont. I dont like the thought of him changing, just to fit in. Just to fit into the world, where people wont accept him, even if he is “Normal.”
I love him, yes.
But I dont want my love FOR him, to damper his potential in any way. I dont want my love to get in the way of his progress, and I dont want my love to push him further than he can go.
I dont want him to change, to fit in, and to be someone different just because someone who loved him, pushed him that direction.