Friday, June 15, 2012

7 Quick Takes

Worth it

My son has trouble communicating. That's his quirk. We have him so attuned to social interaction that he is able to express and read emotions fairly well now (I'd give him a A+ for expressing emotion, C- for reading them), so we've come a long way. A lOOOOooooong, long, long, long way. If you looked at him, you'd never know he was Autistic. You'd think he was quiet. Abnormally quiet. Now speech is the next big hurdle. I've resisted sign language because it made communication too easy: he stopped trying to talk. I've resisted the picto-card technique, too, because he hated it and I could see his point. We all knew he wanted a cookie; he was communicating that perfectly well; what he communicated even better was, "Why are you making me look stupid by handing you a card for what you already know I want?" We've found a way around the cards: the iPad. We bought an app that does the very same thing as the picture cards. Now, he gets to use the iPad, gets to communicate, and he gets to be cool. Priceless.

Why Write about Autism?

I have to address this because I have been asked by someone genuinely concerned for my boy: "Why do you write about your son's Autism?"

For the record, this is why:
Because it's our "normal." It's what we do. This is a family blog and this is our family. Autism is not a dirty little secret here; it's our day to day. Like I struggle with a temper and procrastination, my son struggles with communication. It's what he works with. It's what he has to overcome. Having a label for his struggle and the enormity of what he would struggle against makes the struggle a little different, but it doesn't make him any different. We all struggle with something. We all have our quirks. This is his.

Another explanation

I'm going to offend again by comparing Autism to something as trivial as temper. Here's my explanation: my son will overcome this in his way and in his time with diligence and hard work. It will always be there to work around, to strive against. This is his challenge, like my daily battles with a bad temper is mine. His is more heroic than mine, for certain, but he is no different than any of us in having a quirk. It is a matter of degree. It is in the struggle that he will be made a man, just as you and I were made into who we are by ours. In all truth, my character couldn't have battled what he has already won. He's just made of better stuff than I, so he was matched with a stronger foe. Get it?

Like Lightning

I was reluctant to "do school" with my Simon yesterday. He was doing so well on his iPad assignments and was in such a good mood that wrestling over the paper and pencil variety of work seemed above my pay grade when I was still feeling bad with this bug. I cornered him with it at breakfast this morning instead.

"Point out all the upper case Qs," I demanded in the most conciliatory and hopeful tone imaginable.

Simon barely glanced at the page, then BAM! His hand hit the page. He's done this sort of thing before, and I always thought it was a dismissive gesture, a "get this work away from me" type of thing, but today he'd been eating blueberries. On the page, next to only capital Qs, were four little purple fingerprints.

"Uh," I said, thinking impossible thoughts. "Point out all the lower case Qs, please?"

BAM! Four more fingerprints in all the right places.

He met my eyes for a split second and smirked at me. His look saying, "Bring it on, Momma."

In less than 10 seconds his work was done. He was back to his blueberries, his brother and sisters were impressed, and his mother was rethinking all those battles over papers. He'd been answering my questions all along, and I'd missed it.

Time to move on to things bigger and better. Oh, I'm bringing it, kiddo. This time, I'm bringing an ink pad!

Are We There Yet?

I've noticed that most of the time, I find myself at a loss for number 5 in my Quick Takes. It seems to be my  transition number. It's like getting to the halfway point in a grueling job, where the end is not quite in sight and the idea of the effort it will take to finish the work is almost enough to finish you off. That's the point that this number 5 leaves me. I'm always hoping to be done right about here.

It's All About Trust

If I ever would make up a list of my spiritual deficits, a lack of trust in God would be at the very top. I am a worrier. I fret over decisions and outcomes as if my life depended on getting every detail right. I behave as if I am in control and I know best, but I know full well that I am not and do not. Hence all the worrying. At any rate, now that this has been brought repeatedly to my attention, I have been making a concerted effort lately to trust that God knows what He is doing, that He will provide the skills and stamina for whatever the daily trials shall be. You'd think this would be easy by now. "Trust Him," has been my mantra of late.

Finally, A Holy Spirit Moment

One of the many benefits of the retreat is coming away with a spiritual director. One of the priests who came to the retreat sendoff had been my regular confessor for several months before his being assigned to a larger and more distant parish. He was the one person I thought of whenever the wistful hope of having a spiritual director crossed my mind. "He's too busy" or "He's too far away" and "I'm too shy to ask for such a thing" were the thoughts that followed quickly on the heels of that hope. But this time the surprise at seeing him gave me the audacity to ask, all the while verbally hand feeding him the excuses he'd need to refuse politely; I prefaced my request with phrases such as, "I know you're too busy for such a thing" and "You are so far away now, it would be very difficult to manage." His response? "I can only answer as directed by the Holy Spirit," he said as he accepted. He then gave me a prayer to discipline myself to, exhorting me to pray it regularly and completely...

As you may have guessed, inspired by the Holy Spirit as he was, this was the prayer he gave me (minus the prayer card)...


Jennifer Fulwiler
Thanks to Jennifer Fulwiler, a fellow Texan, for hosting
7 Quick Takes Friday 

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