24 April 2014

Evil will never have the last word

Evil may have the upper hand, but it will never have the last word.
--Rev. Gail Miller, on the message of Easter

Yeah, it sure seems to have the upper hand some days.

Like when the Federal government is rigging elections while offering to send Canadians to Ukraine to oversee theirs. (see: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/pierre-poilievre-says-amendments-coming-to-elections-bill-1.2620474 and http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/robocalls-made-across-canada-in-2011-won-t-bring-charges-1.2620444)

When a cop kills a kid, gets 7 months paid leave, and then comes back to work in the Crimestoppers unit.

When a man can beat the shit out of his girlfriend (wife?) ON TAPE and bureaucracy gets that thrown out, but she is blamed for all of it because she was too scared to testify.

When good people die of cancer when they have young children. RIP old friend. My thoughts and prayers are with your family. (I know, seems more like unfair than evil, but you don't know the story and it's not mine to tell.)

That cops can just take a person's meager possessions and sell them.
These are just the "little" things. This isn't the ongoing use of rape as a war crime. This isn't governments using chemical weapons. It's not genocide. Or starvation. Or the AIDS crisis in Africa. Or Haiti still being a fucking mess because no one gives a shit about black people. This isn't slavery. It isn't even slavery-light (You know, when you still get a home... okay, shack, but you have to work 18 hours a day to have it and search through dumpsters for food, but get told that you're damn lucky to have that textile factory! And you're "free" enough that you can leave, but only if you'd like to die on the street.)

But there is a lot of light. A lot of good in the world. And these acts of goodness will always ALWAYS have the last word. Mr. Rogers once famously said that his mother told him to look to the helpers in times of tragedy. Look for the good people who coming running to help. Also, just look around. There's good everywhere.

The man who saw a barefoot man and gave him his shoes, right off his own feet.

The couple who left a thousand dollar tip on an $80 tab because the bartender's dog needed surgery.

The man who paid off the delinquent cafeteria accounts for poor kids in an Indianapolis school.

Challenge! Everyone find one example in real life and one story they can link to of something extraordinarily awesome. Post it here, or on your blogs. Share the love.

16 April 2014

Hope and Autism

I haven't written since late February, and we're in mid-April. It's been a rough couple of months. All three of my kids had birthdays. I was sick. The SEAs all had bouts of illness. Glutened several times. Basically, life got in the way. And besides which, I had books to read, things to crochet, and TV to watch.

And honestly, shit was getting me down. Another birthday for Crackle, come and gone with no language from him. Garbage on the news. Garbage in the government. Garbage, shit, and bullshit. Everything seemed like it was exactly the same, and no improvements anywhere.

And then I snapped, blew a gasket on some people for their crap, unfriended and unfollowed some accounts that I was keeping around in the idea of knowing one's enemy, but was really just using to anger myself. Stupid. So it's gone. Cleared out.

And I'm back, hopefully more regularly, with less serious, more hopeful and hopefully some funny stuff.

On Hope, because I need some, and so do you:
Some people with children like Crackle have no hope for their full recovery. I have hope for Crackle. Why not? I mean, what's the harm in having hope for a full recovery. I don't mind the term, not because I think it's an illness, but because I think it's a social developmental disorder. And it can improve to the point where it's no longer an issue. I know it can. I have friends who have kids who have adapted so well to it that they no longer need therapies, or only remedial, catch-up therapy (like occupational therapy to help develop fine motor coordination, or speech therapy to help improve clarity). Their kids no longer behave autistically. They don't. They just don't. It's fabulous, it's awesome, it's cool, and it's true. I have one of those miracles myself. Oh, he's not quite there, but so close, it's palpable. And yes, 3 years ago, they told me it was hopeless. That there was no chance. He'd probably never talk. He'd never have a friend. He'd never have a meaningful relationship. They were wrong. And what if I'd given up? What if I'd said, "Okay. We'll teach him to cope."? He'd still be an awesome kid. I'd love him with all my heart (like I do Crackle). He'd be an amazing little liner-upper of all the things. Now? He has a friend. He says things like, "Mommy? Is tomorrow Sunday? I want to go to church to play with my friend! He's so much fun! Last week, we played with the cars." He says things like, "Oh Mommy, I love you." and "When I grow up, I'm going to watch Crackle* for you. I will teach him to talk." (Of course, he used his real name).

I remember telling Santa one year, "They're both autistic. Neither can talk. We're just aiming for a picture." This year, Pop went twice, and talked Santa's ear off.

So I said fuck this ABA bullshit, where the aim is to get a compliant child who will do as asked. I went to Son-Rise. I got hope in bunches there. If you can't get there, buy Raun Kaufman's book and watch him on YouTube.

And where did that get me with Crackle? Well, he's happier. I'm happier. He learned to nod his head yes last week. He learned to say "yeah" in the last couple of months (his only word, right now). He eats what I ask him to. He's potty trained (mostly). He's sleeping better. He's screaming less. He's making almost appropriate amounts of eye contact. He's asking to play with us. He takes us to the trampoline to jump with him instead of going out and jumping by himself all the time. He saw a little girl at my chiropractor's office yesterday, and he lit up with a big smile and gave her a hug. It's slower with him, but it's happening, and there's no reason why it can't continue to happen forever until he's no different from any one else.

Why should I give up on my dream of full recovery for him? Because he's awesome now? Of course he's awesome now. He's fucking perfect now. Like an infant or toddler is perfect. We love them exactly as they are in that moment, and continue to teach and hope and love and nurture. We don't say, "Oh, geez. He can't line up those blocks perfectly. I'm going to aim a little lower. Maybe mechanic instead of engineer." So hell fucking no, I'm not giving up my dream of full recovery. I've seen one miracle in Pop. I'm aiming for two. I am embracing their autism, getting into their world, and showing them that mine is pretty cool too.

And I am not judging those who don't believe like I do. Oh goodness no. They believe their child cannot recover. That is completely okay. They're not comfortable hoping for something they believe cannot happen. No one is. And they'll will do great by their kids. They will teach them to cope with autism. They will get the best therapies they can find for them, to help them adjust to the world as best as they can. They've got hope for learned skills, for new talents to shine. They're not without hope. They just doesn't believe, as I do, that their child could ever be indistinguishable from other people. And that is okay.

My Crackle may never get there. He may never learn another skill in his life. It doesn't matter. I love him unconditionally. And I believe that he will someday tell me his every thought. That he will someday have a girlfriend or boyfriend. That he will someday tell people "When I had autism..."

Oh geez. Okay, so apparently someone is mad at me, and is smack-talking me after blocking me, so I can't respond or explain. I did not say that it is, or should be, every autistic person's goal to be indistinguishable from other people. I said that's mine. For my child. And if he never gets there, I am totally okay with that. He's perfectly awesome, right now. If he ever gets to the point where he's not happy with what we're doing, I'll stop. If he ever gets to the point where he's satisfied, I'll happily stop. We're having fun. And he's learning. What's the problem again?