As most of you know, I'm a mom.
I have four awesomely crazy/awesomely awesome kids. Three boys and a girl.
I could write tons about each one of them...and, over time, I probably will. But today I'm writing about child #3--Ian-Thayer or Bear as he's been called since the day he was born.
Bear has autism.
He's on the very high functioning end of the autism spectrum and, to most of the world, just appears to be 'a little bit different'.
To steal a line from The Mom Cave, he has 'a little bit of autism'.
He is smart, funny, charming, demanding, behavioral, and challenging---often all at the same time.
But I don't know any other person who is more comfortable in their skin--more in control of who they are--than Bear.
I was reading this blog.
It's about having 'the talk' with your autistic child--the talk where you tell them about their autism. Bear and I had this talk almost four years ago but I loved this post and I became inspired by her idea of Google-ing all the autistic people that are famous or have made amazing contributions to society.
I wanted to do this with Bear.....if he was receptive to the idea.
I approached the idea with him during a massive downpour on the way to the post office. Since it was just the two of us, with no distractions, I figured this was a perfect time to ask him if it was something he'd be interested in doing.
I expected him to say no. And he did. But it's the reason that astounded me. I figured he would just say that it was too boring or that he had better things to do....
He told me that it wasn't necessary to see a list like that. Because such a list implies that there is something wrong with having autism. Something so wrong that we need to have lists of great people who have autism just to prove that it's not as bad as you think it is. The list's existence alone must mean that people believe having autism is a negative thing.
I tried to explain about closed-minded people and people who automatically spew hatred at anything that is different and unusual--and keep it on an eight year old level.
I told him that some (but not all) people are scared of different and unusual.
His answer blew me away.
He said "What's wrong with having autism? I have autism. I am different. There's nothing wrong with being different. I like being different."
Apparently, my son has been gaining wisdom and maturity behind my back.
And I love him all the more for it.