I walked into our local Dollar General the other evening and while I was waiting in line to pay, I saw the wall behind the register decorated in blue ribbons for autism. I smiled to myself and shook my head in disbelief. And in that moment, I was taken back five years ago...
I had just put Race to sleep and was peeking in on baby Witten when the phone rang. I quietly ran to the phone so the noise wouldn't wake the baby. It was John on the other end of the line. He was driving home from reffing a football game and was calling to let me know he was on his way. And then he said, "Teddy, I just heard something on the radio." John is an avid listener to AM radio.
"It was about autism. Have you ever heard of that?"
"Yes, John." I said, and a few kids from the school I was teaching at popped in my head.
"Well, a lot of the things they were talking about..."
"You think Race has autism?"
"Well...it was just sounding a lot like Race."
"John, he doesn't have autism."
"But, what if he did? What do we do?"
Tears came to my eyes because if you know John, he isn't a worrier. But he was worried about this. And also, I think deep down in my heart, I knew he was right. "If he does, then we'll figure it out as we go. We'll love him. We'll help him. But you don't need to worry, ok?"
That was the first conversation we ever had about the word autism. And it was the first time we associated Race's little tendencies with a defined word. And even now, when things get a little muddy, and stressful, and we're feeling a little crazy, John and I return to that conversation, and all it's ignorant wisdom. :)
"We'll figure it out as we go. We'll love him. We'll help him."
So when it was time for me to check out at Dollar General and I started placing my few items on the counter, I said to the cashier, "That is so cool," referring to the wall of blue ribbons.
"Oh yeah. That's for autism," he said. "It's Autism Awareness month. Do you know anything about autism?"
"Just a little bit," I said with a smile.
"Well, here take this. And get on-line and learn more about it," he handed me some light it up blue info. "It's pretty interesting. And you can donate if you like as well..."
I am so grateful for the awareness that is out there now. More so than there was five years ago when autism, to me was something I knew little about. It was something scary. To me it was uncharted waters I wanted to avoid.
John and I were sitting in Tae Kwon Do last week, watching our boys interact with all their friends. And all the little kids were running around with autism stickers because Ms. Kathy had just read them a story for Autism Awareness Month. And Race was among them. And John leans over to me and says, "You know Teddy, I think autism might be the next cool thing. I mean look at him." He nods over in Race's direction and I hear my husband sigh. It was one of those good sighs.
"That's 'cuz autism is cool," is all I can say through the lump in my throat. Because I know we were both thinking about a phone conversation five years ago.
So, for the last giveaway of the month, the book choice of Mr. Armstrong himself,
drum roll please...
*You do NOT have to be a follower to enter.
*I have one copy of this book to give away.
*One winner will be announced on Friday.
*To be entered in the drawings, please leave your name and a way to contact you in the comment area of this post. Also, we are all effected by autism in one way or another: tell us about it in your comment if you like.
Once again, thanks for stopping by, and Happy Autism Awareness Month!