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Just a single mom of two small boys somewhere in the middle of Minnesota. My older son has been diagnosed with autism. Both sons have been diagnosed with awesome.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Finding Hope Where You Can

A few days ago, when I was at  the grocery store, I overheard a woman talking, and I just froze.  She wasn't doing anything weird to draw my attention. She was just telling excitedly a clerk about the great day she had.

But there was something about about her voice, the way she moved. The way she kept moving her hands. It was like I knew her.

And every so often, usually when she was making a point, she stopped to look at the clerk out of the corner of her eye and give her a little half smile.

And just for that second... she looked just like Max.

Most of the time when Max smiles at me, he gives me that exact same side glance and sweet little smile. She moved just like Max, too. And her oh-so-familiar voice? I realized it sounded eerily similar to Temple Grandin's.

If you'd have asked me right then, I'd have bet anything she was on the autism spectrum. I'm still pretty sure she was, although I admit I'm not any kind of expert or anything. I could be wrong.

So here I am at the grocery store, staring at a women I've never met.

Just days after I complained about people staring at my son.

Hello hypocrisy. How are you doing? Me? I'm okay.

Still... I had such a hard time looking away. I was transfixed by her.  She went boating and watched baseball. She had friends that she talked about. Most of all, she just seemed so happy.

I've heard it said before, "When you've met one person with autism, you've met one person with autism." and I know that's true. 

Even knowing that, in that moment, I couldn't help be look at her and, think "Maybe someday Max will talk to me like that."

Not just the short declarative sentences that, don't get me wrong, I feel lucky to get, but really talk to me. 

I felt renewed hope that maybe one day, when Max has an awesome day, I won't have to read a note someone else wrote to learn about it. I felt hope that maybe one day, he will tell me himself. 

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