Fair warning as this could be TMI (too much information ). I just came home from my doctor appointment at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. Before any of you begin thinking the worst, the tumors are under control. We do not know when our time is up on earth, however I do believe knowledge is power.
My autistic son Luke never ceases to amaze me. This fun photo of him sitting in his favorite rocking chair creates a look as if he does not have a care in the world.
I often think about the impact autism has on our medical and governmental communities including, but not limited to social workers, physical therapists, special ed teachers, speciality physicians , behavior therapists, and social security experts. As I focus on the twenty six years I have vested in my gorgeous son and his journey, I vastly underestimated how much would go into all that we have aspired for Luke. Looking back, it is hard to think about all those years, but know this it was an honor for me as Luke’s mom to give him my best and find all the resources I did.
6/2/1977…I read this in my junior high school yearbook and smiled.
6/2/2019….When he was put in a critical thinking scenario, the whistling began as a coping mechanism. The subject was unpleasant so he was attempting to birdcall it off.
The leaves had turned and within six weeks Christmas would have come and gone. Rolling my suitcase off the bus toward the slippery Seattle street in good spirits, my eyes glistening with excitement, I focused on the ocean within my view. After all it was Thanksgiving and my friend promised a wonderful meal for the holidays. What she would do for me is what I had done for her over the years, as my memories conjured up my kitchen with savory smells that my taste buds couldn’t wait for again.
Manhandling my heavy luggage, staring at the lights dancing off the buildings near the Puget Sound’s emerald waters, I could see the Bremerton Ferry awaiting for me. I arrived a couple of hours early bought my fare and rested on a construction site zone bench, where waiting for my friend to arrive was my goal.
Time went by rapidly, but it had been some time before I heard from her and all to knowing work at the hospital was the culprit. Not a surprise and it did not bother me in the least.
The ferry dock information lady stared at me as I asked her a question.
“Where is the best clam chowder?”
Undeniably she said pointing to Ivars, “right there!”
Yes. Of course.
Suitcase in tow, I decided best to get a bite. It was a good thing as my two hour wait turned to four. What was so interesting besides being physically tired, I enjoyed every minute of that beautiful scenery as dark got darker and the afternoon turned to evening.
It was late, but she arrived and off we went from the ferry to her car parked on the other side of the sound. Driving those dark roads, we reminisced of days gone by and how we both loved the tall pine and fir trees in our view as we weaved the curved asphalt road. I was mesmerized by this part of earth I call home. Yet a part of me was lonely. It was my first Thanksgiving without my sons in 25 years.
When we arrived at my girlfriend’s home, she announced,
“Would you be OK if we have our Thanksgiving meal on Friday?”
Studying her tired face and all to knowing that feeling I made sure to remind her the most important part of hanging out was that we weren’t alone. She smiled and agreed.
Long before she and I would find ourselves together this night, I could not help to think long before in the heavenly it was decided how we would be a help to each other in the present. No Thanksgiving meal on the actual holiday, but my day would not be spent alone and the ferry made sure of that.
Who am I? I ask that question of myself. I answer. An inspired human being beyond belief. That is who I am and how I feel.
The music softly plays in the background as I ponder my own humanness. It grows in strength. Hearing the crescendo of the musical instruments raises me up to a new high that surely I could not do by myself.
Do not ask my son for approval. People stare at him sniffing my hair and he could care less. The acceptance of God in our lives is not dependent on humans.
Sitting at church today, it struck me how critical humanity can be towards each other. I watched an elderly man act out. He disgreed about some dialogue. I sat quiet. How many times had I opened my mouth? How about thinking it, but not speaking it? Words spoken or not can divide.
I travel a lot. Getting out of my comfort zone brings me to different cultures and diversity. I enjoy meeting new people. Communication is key. I find a smile is most inviting. It is the best kind of approval. Maybe. I am happy.
I think upon myself and wonder how hedonistic I may be. That deep seeded place thinking only about being happy as my greatest approval factor. Can you relate?
Do I need to look to the skys for my answer? Yes, and I also know my approval rating needs to be more like how my son looks at being accepted. It is with no thought of what others might think.
Let it go. Close my eyes and sniff away like my Luke! There will I find peace in God.
Having an adult son with autism has hard and complicating challenges. My first time hearing Luke’s diagnosis in 1994 made me numb. It did not seem real.