Wednesday, April 29, 2009

As Autism Awareness Month 2009 comes to an end,

the overwhelming presence of autism remains in the lives of thousands of families all over the world. I challenged blogland to become more aware and educated about autism. How well did you do?

Did you learn anything new about autism? Did you educate a neighbor or a friend?

Did you try to sympathize with the mother at the park who's 12 year old was pitching a fit because his swing was occupied by another swinger, instead of judging her mothering skills?

Did you try not to stare at the adult flapping his arms and making unusual sounds at the mall?

When you wished your child would just stop talking for one minute, did you take a moment to think of the parents who will never hear the child speak one word?

This month like any other month, I've experienced all of the above with Clee.

When we were at the park, Clee was throwing a fit because the swings were all occupied, it wasn't the dirty looks or the rude comments that were meant for me to overhear that
 determined my mood. It was the one lady who casually came over with a smile and told me to "hang in there" that made our day at the park more bearable.

When we were at Target and Clee was flapping his hands with excitement, it wasn't the teenagers mocking him that caught my attention, it was their friend who said "Dude. Stop being a bunch of bleeps. Haven't you heard of Karma?" (thank you Earl Hickey) that made me grin.

When Andrew was ranting and raving about how mean of a mom I was for not renting SonicX from the redbox, and all I wanted him to do was just stop talking, I thought about Clee and how the hope of ever hearing him talk is slowly being lost with each passing day. That made Andrew's rave a little more tolerable.

I hope that as the month of April comes to an end, your awareness and mercy for the autistic community keeps going. 

And ps: If you ever feel the need to sternly tell a mother of an autistic child they need to teach their child about boundaries, just remember to bite your tongue, k? I'm here to tell you that we're well aware and working on it, along with a bagillion other things. So sorry if thats not right on top of the priorities list. :) 


april said...

nat, this seriously brought me to tears (minus the last paragraph - but i won't begrudge you a rant - hell knows, i've done it often enough - like this morning on my blog).

anyhoo, i so want you to tuck these posts away and next march submit them to your local newspaper for autism awareness month. they are fantastic, nat. thank you for sharing.

Meghan said...

You are such a good mom! Your children are so lucky to have you. Can't wait to see you this summer!

sorichfamily said...

you rock and your kids are so lucky they have you!

nuf said!

Kim and Stace said...

Natalie, I just want you to know that I think you are amazing. Seriously. You are a wonderful mother with a giant heart and I feel lucky to have your example. Seriously:)

Tice said...

Well said, my love. Well said. And next time someone feels the need to yell at Clee for touching her purse...instead of trying to explain Autism to her, you look her straight in the eye and say, "You're mean." And walk away. Srsly. I don't care for people who are mean to my Clemon. They have no idea how hard everyday life is for him.

ps- Buy him some skittles and tell him they're from me, k? :)

Grandma Gerri said...

Here I sit blubbering again. You are a great mom, sweetie. You really should consider writing, you are amazing.

LINDSEY said...

What a fantastic post. Thanks for helping me see yet again the importance of just loving, instead of judging. You always seem to me like you're doing an AMAZING job as a mother. I thought that the whole time I was in Manchester, and I still think it now reading your blog. Way to go, Natalie. You're doing great.

Analia and Co. said...

You are such a good mother and (author). Maybe you should write for autism awareness. I don't know how you do it all with Clee but I do know that our heavenly father knows you... and must think that you are amazing and able to care for such a special person.

Karen said...

You have some mad writing skills chica! I agree with the others, you need share your skills!
I honestly don't understand how other moms can act like that towards you. If nothing else, motherhood should teach us to be At least there are a few understanding people out there! You are one AWESOME one of the COOLEST ones I know!

Lori, Lorelei, Lore said...

I ditto everything that's been said. Heavenly Father sent him to YOU so you could be his mother. He knows you are up for it!

jennah said...

Thank you for that and amen to it all.

kristi said...

Yes, yes and yes! I wish I could educate people more. I always address it if a child comes up to me at daycare and says, "Tony called me stupid," (or if they say he said something else inappropriate- which happens often!). I stop, bend down to their level, and tell them, "Tony has autism. That means his brain is a little different than yours and that makes him say things he shouldn't. We are working on that!" Usually they smile and say, "Okay!"

Sally Sirmans said...

I believe that there is a special place in hell for people who are mean to Clemon.

Excellent writing, Natalie. Nom nom nom.