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Sunday, May 31, 2009

The (sort of) Upside of Autism

Ever heard that saying, “if you don’t laugh, you’ll end up crying?”
Well, that’s sort of our family motto around here.

Such is the case with Monchichi’s Autism.
There is so much to mope about, so many tears that we have shed over the years.

There are endless questions and never enough answers. There are decisions to make and people and things to blame and at the end of the day we are just two parents trying to find our way through this infinate maze of information and anxiety. It can get pretty rough sometimes.

Then our son does something completely wonderful. Something super simple. Something that forces us to see the lighter side of life.

Take for instance the flashlight I found in the refrigerator last week. Mikey had been looking for it for at least the better part of a day, cursing semi-silently under his breath. At some point I had to get the cheese out and there it was, tucked in-between the sour cream and cilantro. It made perfect sense to monchichi. This is where the flashlight should go. Dude. You can’t help but laugh.

What about the missing fish food on Wednesday morning? The goldfish were starving, swimming violently back and forth in their tiny water cell and Superman couldn’t find the fish flakes. I remembered that the container was Monchichi’s favorite cylindrical shape and I began my search. I eventually found five pounds of smelly fish food near my bed, the container only a quarter full, but the boy had put the lid back on when he was done making a mess. Ten points Monchichi!

He takes bbq sauce bottles on the bus in the morning, because he loves them and because he can. He shouts “yaaaaay” in the middle of musicals, when the audience is quiet and the scene is a poignant plot twister. He haunts the house in the wee hours of the night, throwing on lights, rolling giant trucks down the hallway, bringing Costco-sized deli ham packs to bed because he wants a snack. He will only wear his socks for seconds at a time and he can imitate the sound of a carbonated bottle being opened perfectly. Over and over and over again. The mystery cans? Still going strong. Beans? Cranberries? You just never know and we have Monchichi to thank for that.

Even when he went up to some poor child at the park months ago and took his cookie right out from under him…….I held my breath and prepared myself for the onslaught of accusations from the little boy’s father and instead……..he laughed. Which ended up being contagious. Because then I began to laugh too.

Believe me when I tell you that usually my first instinct is to cry.
But our son is teaching us that laughter really is the best medicine.

Does it mean I break out into hysterical giggles when he has a seizure or his medical check up reaps poor results? Hell no. I sob and feel alternating pangs of guilt and fury.

But as soon as I see him heading straight for me with that awkward toothless grin that is so commonplace in seven year olds, holding some bbq sauce and his favorite book
du jour, I defy gravity and a giant grin makes it’s way across my face.

Because the truth is,

Sometimes even Autism

Can be funny.

1 comment:

Courtney said...

I found you through classy chaos and I just want to tell you that you brought tears to my eyes.
I was a behavioral therapist for children with autism for 6 yrs before I became a SAHM.
They are the hardest working kids and you are the HARDEST working parents I have ever seen. I am so glad to hear of your laughter through tears.
Keep up your hard work! :)