A sassy, crafty mama bird from Los Angeles
raising a very sweet little girl with Autism
and a new baby boy in the Midwest... and other stuff, too.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Innocence of Her Autism

Every so often I am struck by gratitude for my daughter's Autism. It happens when I think about the incredibly wonderful people I have in my life simply because Autism connected us. It happens when I think about the growth opportunity it's given me. It happens when I recognize that I'm way more aware and way more proud when she accomplishes something she's worked so hard on- something that comes easily to her typically developing peers.

It happens when I think about how little the outside world affects her. She has no need to keep up with the other kids' lifestyles, their wardrobes or their gadgets. She's not embarrassed of the braces she wears on her ankles. She has no shame or embarrassment that we moved from a big house to a small apartment.  She doesn't know or feel left out when she's not invited to birthday parties. She is totally content with our trips (or lack thereof) to visit family rather than the {seemingly} lavish ski trips or tropical getaways that my peers brag about post photos from (guess I'm the one that has some jealousy there!).

It happens when I see little girls in aviators, tight pants, high boots, and ANYTHING written on their little tushies. I am forever grateful that she doesn't feel the need to fit in, so hopefully, she will never blend in with the too-sexy-too-soon crowd. *shivers*

It happens when I see her flap or spin in a public place- totally oblivious to how she's being looked at, perceived, and judged.

And it happens on days like these, when everywhere you turn people are talking about tragedy. Bombs! Guns! Someone's eight year old baby boy! It's such a scary world to raise a child in. So much scarier than it was in the 90s 80s when my parents were raising me. Still, I knew a little too much.  I knew that sometimes airplanes got hijacked (not cool when your mom is a flight attendant stewardess), I knew there were wars (even begged my mom to come up with a family meet-up plan if war broke out while I was at school), I even knew there were people who intended to hurt and kill children (I was only 7 but knew all about California's night stalker) and I was afraid to sleep at night. Helloooo anxiety!

So, while there are great resources to talk our children about the scary things that happen in the world, I feel some gratitude that it's not really necessary here.... yet. Little Bird is pretty oblivious to the world around her. I do shelter her. We don't watch TV, and we don't talk about tragedies around her. (side note: this whole not watching TV thing has been really great for me, as well!) I'd really like to preserve her innocence and trust in her world for as long as I can. She's only eight (biologically). At her age, I didn't sleep. I worried all the time. I spent too much time in the nurse's office with physical symptoms of anxiety. I love that she's such a sweet, innocent kid. She never, ever means to harm, fool, or take advantage of anyone (sure she'll try to manipulate and negotiate her way to 5 more minutes on the iPad, but still!). For that innocence of Autism, I am forever grateful.

Photo by: Enchanted Photography by Marla Michele

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