I have a confession to make. Yesterday after my Wednesday group class, I was depressed. This is a rarity for me- and especially after a wonderful group session.We had seen a video of a young, lovely mom and her 11 year old son. The family has been having a rough time for a while now, as the child has been having meltdowns every few days.
As the video started, I could see that the child was not as engaged as he usually is. But the mother continued to connect with him. Within 5 minutes she had him engaging well with her. The video ended with the mother and son smiling beautifully at each other….
As I reviewed the video, the thing that stood out for me was the courage of this lovely, young woman. Inspite of being battered emotionally (yes, meltdowns are tough and draining for parents too), she opened herself up to her son and finally got him to open up as well.
I commended her for her courage and with tears in my eyes said, ‘Only a mother can do this.’ Only a mother can look beyond her own pain and work tirelessly for her child.
The day, apparently, had plenty more in store. I had taken the afternoon off as I had these niggling cold and flu symptoms. A call from work had me back on my feet and back to work. Another young man had gotten aggressive with his mother and she was traumatized. The storm had passed and there wasn’t much that I could do- however, I wanted to be with the mother and son. I know the pain. I’ve experienced this. I know the value of support at these harrowing times.
The unfairness of both situations, the pain that both the moms went through affected me deeply. The ‘why’, that over the years had converted to ‘why not’, kept rearing its ugly head. For some reason, I couldn’t shake the blues off.
I discussed it with my husband, Anil, who has the ability to ground me and put some good sense into my head in these situations. He came down heavily on me, saying that I get too emotionally involved and don’t know how to disconnect from my work life! He may be right, but this didn’t alleviate the numbing pain that I was experiencing!
I then spent a few minutes with my son, Mohit. He wanted to listen to an old Hindi song from a film released in 1969! 20 years before he was born! The song has a nostalgic, lilting melody to it. We listened to it 2 or 3 times and I started enjoying it too. Nothing was said about anything. And yet, the message was clear- the penny dropped.
Experience the pain, but use it a spring board to elevate your life condition. It is for your own evolvement.
My son…. My friend. We’ve been through so much over the past 25 years. It has not been a pain free journey. But it has resulted in me being what I am today.
Today, I feel deep gratitude to Mohit and others who are on the Autism Spectrum. They have given me strength and resilience. They are responsible for solidifying this ability to rise from difficult situations. They have made me what I am.
What do I wish for them on World Autism Awareness Day? They have given us so much, what do we want to give them? What exactly is it that we want the world to be aware about?
People with autism are different but not less.
Autistic people are gifted.
Autistic people can surprise you.
Autistic people can focus on certain interests for long periods of time.
Autistic people are passionate.
Autistic people are non-judgmental.
Autistic people are honest.
Autistic people are rarely boring.
Autistic people are special.
Autistic people are logical
Autistic people are loyal.
Autistic people are interesting.
Autistic people are wonderful.
Autistic people are diverse.
Autistic people are imaginative.
Autistic people are unique.
It’s 5.30am. It’s still dark outside, but I can hear the birds chirping. Finally out of the blues on Autism Awareness Day!
A message for all the wonderful mothers out there: The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.
Thank you Mohit. Thank you every person on the Autism Spectrum that I have ever worked with. It’s time for us to become aware of ourselves.