My three sons. Carson, Mason, and Jaxon
Yesterday was difficult. It was a very windy day and the twins were getting ready for speech therapy. The wind really bothers Carson. It scares him, causes great anxiety, and it hurts his ears. So to keep him calm, he will wear headphones with a hooded jacket over the top when he goes outside. As the twins and I made our way to the car, Jaxon came zipping up on his scooter.
"It's just weird."
"What's weird, Jaxon?"
"It's weird that he has to wear those headphones...Why does he have to wear those headphones? It's just weird!" he replied, this time with a little more anger in his voice.
In that instance, my heart felt like it had been ripped right in two. Two typical kids who are understanding that their two Autistic brothers are different. One brother who gets that his other brother may be viewed as strange. Half. Half of me that needs to be as cognisant of my typically-abled children as I am the needs of my differently-abled children.
I pulled Jax aside and gave him a big hug. "Jaxon, I love you son." I replied. "I know that you see that as strange but there will be enough people in this world who will tease Carson. I need to ask you not to be one of those people. Carson needs to know that when he is home, he is safe to be exactly the person God created him to be, and that we will accept him and love him just the way he is. The very same way we accept and love you for the wonderful person that you are. Can you try and do that for him?" Jaxon's face softened, his voice became kind, and with a sweet nod of his head he answered "Yes."
I broke into tears on the drive to speech therapy, tears that are often close to the surface right now. I really hate seeing my kids suffer, even though I know that challenges are exactly what we need to forge us into the people we become. I really hate that the twins may be viewed as "weird." I am so proud of them for all their quirky behaviors, yet I understand that the world may not be as kind. I love that Mason is a little human computer when it comes to all things NASCAR, and I love that Carson really gets into geography and the weather. They are brilliant, sometimes too brilliant for us "normal" people to understand. I want the world to see the boys that I see.
I ended up having a restless night. Sleep eluded me. After several unsuccessful attempts to count sheep, I picked up my laptop and clicked on to my favorite Autism website, Thriving With Autism. I hadn't visited for quite a while. One of the articles immediately caught my eye, "I Was A Casualty," a brutally honest, gut wrenching look at being the sibling to a differently-abled child. The woman who wrote the article has been a friend of mine for ten years. In all that time, I did not know this part of her life. The knowledge came at just the right time, a true tender mercy. I know the article had to be painful for her to write and I am grateful to her for putting it out there for others to learn from. I highly recommend the piece to anyone who is raising a child who is "different" and wonders how their typical children are feeling, and how to help them.
Thank you Andrea Warner.
|Mason and Carson (who was getting geared up for a windy day.)|