This morning he didn’t want to leave. I pushed him a bit harder than usual – for selfish reasons. Mostly because I had a busy day and wanted some time alone. But he pushed back, and I finally let it slide. Instead of going he wanted to plink around in just his underwear. Doing his own thing, his own way. He wasn’t in my way, wasn’t bothering me, and really wasn’t even noticed. Except that he was. Because I stopped doing what I deemed so important – to watch him.

Hes nine years old, and still prefers to be as naked as possible. He hasn’t spoken real words in I don’t know how long, yet it doesn’t seem weird. Or unusual. It seems normal. I watched him this morning. I watched him do his own thing, his own way, at his own speed. The autism, it doesn’t bother me. The lack of using words, the underwear, the dancing over pb and j…it doesn’t bother me. None of that bothers me. Watching him grow, make his own decisions – it makes me smile. No matter how he goes about making them.

When he first came here, separating autism from Josh, and Josh from all the other things involved – was difficult. Finding Josh buried beneath everything seemed like a daunting task. Digging a small child out of years of abuse and diagnosis’s is not an easy task, and trying to build him back up when you don’t really even have a model to go off of, is equally hard.

But today, as I watched him. Carefree, seemingly happy, dancing around in his underwear I realized something. We found him.

April is child abuse awareness month, and while it may seem odd…that after my previous rant on awareness, this month sits close to my heart. Child abuse is not autism. Its something that should be, and can be – prevented. Something that should be avoided, and not something that any child should ever have to endure. And yet they do. And after watching all the things that Josh has struggled with, and gone through, and over come…

I can honestly say that yes, I will love him no matter what. And after all these years, I think he knows this. I will take him – autism and all. I wont get rid of him because of his diagnosis. I wont trade him in because hes ‘different.’ But if there is one thing that I wish I could have spared him from, one thing that has not added to his life, one thing that I wish I could turn back time to avoid – it would be to spare him the abuse.

The needless, heartless, cold heartedness abuse that he endured – and over came.


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