Sometimes on social media, I share an image of me kissing my non-verbal son on the cheek. Next to it is a quote from a past blog that says, “No one has to remind me to be strong. He’s all the reminder I’ll ever need.”
I mean that. Lucas is an amazing boy and many of the things the outside world sees as a limitation are nearly invisible to me at times. His lack of speech may be apparent, but his lack of ego and duplicity are beautiful. He is unlike anyone else I have ever known. I often say that the world should try to be a little more like Lucas. We’d all be better for it.
That said, people will still comment below that they are “praying” for me. I will still get sympathetic reminders to hold on, be strong, and that “anything can happen.”
It kind of goes against the message I am trying to convey and, when pressed for an explanation about my feelings, I can offer one. I love my boy and would love for him to naturally advance to a level that makes the world more easily accessible for him. I want Lucas to be able to speak, but not so he can tell me jokes or talk baseball. I want him to speak so that his journey in life will be less difficult. I want him to speak so that other people will be more equipped to help him as he gets older.
Make no mistake, though, I would never want to wave a magic wand and take his autism away. Autism is a huge part of who he is. To take that away would be to take away his infectious laughter, adorable quirks, and loving personality. I recognize the things that autism has brought to his table and I love all of them. It’s part of what makes him so unique. I would never want to lose that part of him.
So, the fabled wand would be waved, but only for him to progress faster and to give peace of mind that everyone else would be able to interact with him easier. I don’t condemn his perceived disability. I simply recognize that it might make his path to adulthood harder for him and for me.
I don’t want to worry about him being left out or misunderstood. If given one, that would be my main magic wand wish. I would ask the universe to make everyone else understand my wonderful son as well as I do. I’d ask that others could enter his world easier rather than for him to have to find an entry into ours. If I’m being honest, our world isn’t always so great.
People can be mean, selfish, and underhanded. My son is none of those things. I don’t want him to gain those personality traits. I want him to be the loving boy that he is and I want the rest of the planet to love him for it. I also want him to be able to tell people he wants pizza and for him to get that pizza. I don’t want people to look at him with a sad face and pray for him to get it.
Thankfully, he is learning communication through his device and other means. Still, it’s a long road ahead. We are working harder every day and he blows me away with the advances he has made. His teacher conferences, which once were heart-wrenching hours, have become wonderful statements abut his progress. I couldn’t be prouder. We are making huge leaps forward daily.
Still, though, people will continue to “pray” and, honestly, that’s cool. I’m not offended by it and, while it might not be the reaction I want, I accept that it’s said out of love. As long as someone isn’t putting words in his mouth and treating his non-verbal approach to the world as if he’s a toy doll that they need to narrate, I’m OK with it. He’s a person. He’s a great person.
For some, understanding Lucas’s beauty is something too foreign to grasp. I get that. I once had a boss who, midway through a discussion that had nothing to do with any of this, dropped her head and sadly blurted, “I was just thinking about your son.”
I replied, “Uh. Thanks? Did you want to go over these financial numbers or no?”
I know that there are people who don’t get it and, if I spent my days being offended, I would have some days where nothing gets done. I appreciate their concern and know where they are coming from. As long as it’s said from a place of kindness, I get it. I do.
That’s why I wrote this post and that’s why I run this blog. I want everyone to know that my boy is the best boy I have ever met. He might not speak. He might not be able to play chess or heckle the TV with me, but he’s unique in ways that we all hope to be. I love him for who he is, not despite it.
And I want the world to feel the same way. If I had a magic wand, that’s what I’d wish for. Since I don’t, I’ll have to settle for explaining it here, one post at a time.
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