Shine

The truth is in
The proof is when
You hear your heart start asking,
“What’s my motivation?”~ The Newsboys, Shine

That’s it. What’s your motivation for putting your child into therapy? What’s your motivation for changing a light bulb to blue? What’s your motivation for listening to people who push for you to wish your child had never been born?

You may think Autism $peaks is a great resource. They’re researching Autism, so they must be okay. They are really researching ways to remove Autism from the gene pool. Autism $peaks does not care about Autistics. They care about money. Which many people seem happy to freely give to an organization that devotes less than 4% of your donation to helping families. The rest is spent telling you that your loved one is a burden that you shouldn’t have to bear.

If that is truly your motivation, then follow the blue. If your loved one is only lovable if they are “Autism-free” then perhaps you need to really look at yourself and why you feel that way. The more you follow the blue, the more likely you are to miss the love offered to you.

That is the tragedy here. It’s not Autism. It’s a group of people who think Autism should be seen entirely as a burden. Listen to Autistic voices instead of voices that want you to believe disability defines a person.

Nineteen

Dream on
Dream about the world were gonna live in one fine day.
Dream on
Spend the night in heaven, I’ll be here to light your way.
Someday tomorrow will smile
But little girl in the meanwhile
Dream on~ The Righteous Brothers, Dream On

Today she celebrates 19. It seems like a long time. And yet, she tells me it is not. But 3 years is a long time too. And to me, it’s not. Time shifting, changing, morphing into yesterdays, todays and tomorrows. A constant swirl of ever-changing landscapes that sometimes move so fast, you miss them. At other times, they are so slow you wish time would speed up. Ah, 19.

She’s a dreamer. The kind of person this world desperately needs. She sees things I miss. She’s adventuresome….on her own terms. A small smile that spreads. A burst of laughter that rings throughout the room. Impish.

I wonder how I can be so lucky as to call her mine. She may not like that all the time, but it’s a fact. We play together. We argue. We make up.

Dream on, my little girl. Keep dreaming about how things can be and one day, you will smile at everything you have become.

How to Love Me

At first blush, it seems simple. Just decide we’re compatible and let it roll from there. In reality, it’s messy, because I’m human just like you. Regardless of what religion professes about love conquering all, it rarely does. Probably because all the other emotions get in the way.

People do things in the name of love all the time. Some are really sweet gestures, like remembering a birthday or bringing home flowers just because. Some are much grander, like marrying for better or worse and meaning it. Or giving up a kidney for a stranger. Or even being an organ donor so others may have a shot at a life after you have passed. Those are some pretty grand gestures of love.

But what of the day-to-day love that we all need? I know I’m difficult. I have my way of doing things and I can be pretty stubborn. I can do many things that people without Autism can do. I can even feel the judgment from others that I’m not Autistic enough to be a member of their tribe. If we truly love one another, why do we keep insisting on labels?

Labels separate us from them. By nature, they divide groups. Labels make it easy to say “I hate cheese” without even trying all the different flavors of cheese out there. A blanket statement about a labeled group is so much easier to use than to get to know all the different types of people in a group.

Autism is a spectrum disorder. There are people who struggle with what we generally consider the most basic of tasks…self-care and communication. Others struggle with academics and social situations. Still others experience awkwardness in conversations. We all have the same disorder. And, I can assure you, we all want to be loved.

So, how to love me. Accept that I’m different and it’s okay. I do the same for you. Yep, that’s right. Some of the stuff you do strikes me as pretty strange. That whole “look me in the eye thing” is weird. Your love of dill pickles? Um, yeah, not touching those. See, it’s okay. Love me for being different and showing you different things. Love me for expressing thoughts that you may not have considered. Love me for all the quirky behaviors I have. Because you know what? You have some pretty quirky things going on too.

Most of all, just love me as a fellow human being. Being different doesn’t make me less worthy of your love.

Diabetic Love

To love me means you accept all the messy bits as well as the fun-loving “normal” bits. My spouse and I are approaching 24 years of marriage. Fourteen of those were filled with the everyday things…careers, raising children, helping with the kids’ activities. Fourteen years of “normal,” although you must remember that normal is a dryer setting.

Now my spouse has learned to wake me when my service dog whines in the middle of the night. To tell me when he smells insulin. To not freak out when he has to do an injection or help me change a pump site. To know where I keep the stash of carbs for emergencies. To accept that I don’t eat what he eats anymore. When to rush me to the emergency room and when to keep me home. I’m sure it’s exhausting for him.

Most of my friends understand diabetes to some degree. They know what Blizzard’s alerts look like. They know she carries meds and carbs. They know which restaurants I like. I don’t think they live in a constant state of awareness about diabetes, but they know I am a diabetic.

November is diabetes awareness month. My message here is to be aware. Be aware of your own health. Know the signs of diabetes and don’t be afraid to ask. Most of all, don’t be afraid of people with diabetes. It’s manageable.

http://www.diabetes.org/