On Sunday, our family went to a car club gathering. I did a bad job of prepping Tyler. We were going to a park that had a lot of playgrounds, so I told Tyler about the playgrounds.
When we met up with everyone there wasn’t a playground in sight. Tyler became really upset. I had to hold him while he cried and Ash walked around in the trees.
Everyone felt bad and we moved to an area with playgrounds.
Then there were two playgrounds. One was for kids 5 and older. Of course Tyler wanted to play on that one. But it was too dangerous for him and Ash, so I made them go to the smaller one.
Tyler had a lot of reasons why this was not a good playground. He tried saying there were too many kids and then not enough kids. He tried claiming there were too many rocks. My favorite excuse was that playing on it would make him tired.
Eventually he started playing. And then he was upset when it was time to leave to go to dinner.
At the restaurant he was inconsolable. He wouldn’t stop crying. There he said the restaurant smelled and was hot.
We normally don’t take him to restaurants unless they are fast food places with playgrounds. Tyler doesn’t eat much and he won’t eat out. So the thought of him sitting there while everyone else eats is a little laughable.
I ate quickly and Tyler, Ash, and I ended up sitting in the car while everyone else finished their meals.
These were all my husband’s friends. I didn’t talk to any of them because I was interacting with Tyler the whole time. But even though I felt disconnected with everyone there, I got the sense that everyone felt bad that Tyler was having such a hard time but that no one was angry at us because of his behavior.
I can get very defensive of Tyler, but my defensive side wasn’t necessary. It was a blessing in the midst of a very difficult time for me.
It reinforces the idea that people are capable of great good and that my dream of a world that holds autistic children in great value can exist.
I hope that one day having an autistic child won’t put parents into a grief cycle. That it can be seen as a blessing and not a tragedy.
We are all born as uncut diamonds. Autistic children are the same. Their inner beauty is locked more tightly away than most. But if given the right tools, they are diamonds with phenomenal clarity and beauty.
It takes someone who knows how to shape the stone. Someone who knows what to remove and what to keep. It takes parents but also teachers and doctors and therapists and siblings and friends all lending their own efforts.
It is a lot of work and many times you are holding your breath because you don’t know the next step and these stones are hard to visualize. these stones can’t be cut in the normal way. They are made differently in their very core, but if you learn to let the stone shine the way it was meant to, it will be the most beautiful sight you have ever seen.
Beauty that you cannot hold in your hands without being changed. Beauty that makes you more beautiful as well.
You will cut your hands and bleed. You will lose some of yourself in the process because it will take that much of you. But what you get back will be better.
To support these beautiful diamonds, please consider going to http://www.walknowforautismspeaks.org/arkansas/rflinchum to help me raise awareness and funds for families struggling to reveal their child’s beauty.
Become an advocate for children. Become a supporter of overcoming hardship and of being different…not less.
From my heart,
(C) Rachel Flinchum 8/27/2013