Thursday, 1 January 2009

A blessing?

I gained some knowledge from a pediatrician lat night that confirmed what I have thought for many years. My son has Asperger's. I know I should have been bowled over by this but I can say that when she voiced her opinion all I felt was overwhelming peace. Strange right? Let me tell you how it happened that God brought this woman into my life for a brief moment to share this news with me.

We were invited to our friend's Sally and Steve's for New Years Day. We are so very blessed to have had made such great friends here in the village. Since it is a very tiny village we were not sure that was going to happen. But a little cat named Poppy made sure Sally and I met. When we moved into the house we noticed a very sweet cat hanging around. The kids just loved her and since she looked well fed and cared for we thought she must belong to a neighbor. She came and loved on the kids whenever they were outside and was always around, but we assumed she went home at night. The kids gave her a bit of cat food and plenty of affection and enjoyed her company. One day we were outside and heard a woman calling "Poppy, Poppy!" We assumed that she was looking for her dog that had wondered off and again thought little of it. The next day we did not see the cat which was very strange. She usually came in the morning and stayed all day outside the house with the kids. I began to worry that maybe something had happened to her when my soon to be new friend Sally showed up at our door asking if we had been taking care of her cat. Seems that Poppy liked it so much here that she was not going home at night! We discovered that she was camping out on our old Lazy Boy chair in the garage. Sally of course was beside herself with worry. They had been on vacation and the person caring for the animals reported Poppy missing 2 weeks ago, the day we moved in! So off we went to identify the cat and make sure it was indeed the cat that had adopted us. It was swiftly confirmed and a deal was worked out that we would look out for her and in exchange Sally would bring us eggs from her chickens. That was a great deal and the kids had an animal companion as well. Now she is allowed inside our office area to keep warm and we all love her very much. Without Poppy I am not sure Sally and I would have met. And that would be a real shame since her friendship has been such a blessing. Back to the original point. We went over for New Year's and it was great fun! Good food, great people to meet, and great conversation. When Sally's friend came I immediately liked her straight away. There was such a peaceful energy surrounding her. We began chatting and she told me she was a pediatrician. Then throughout the course of the evening as I am sure most doctors do she casually observed my kids. Just part of her inner workings I am sure. I liken it to my birdwatching. If there is a rare bird around I will have to interrupt whatever it is I am doing and observe it. I noticed that she was watching my son a bit more then my daughter. This is not unusual. We have noticed that the microscope seems to get pulled out so to speak when my son is around those in the medical field. We have long known that he was different. Later in the evening the doctor and I got into a conversation about Jason and she quietly revealed to me that by no means was this an official diagnosis but she strongly suspected he had Asperger's. Now to any other parent I am assuming this would be a great shock. There are many ways I could have reacted. Peaceful is not one of the emotions that comes to mind to often when this news is given. But, that is exactly how I felt. Utterly and peacefully calm. This is not the first time my husband and I have heard this suggested. We know that it is true. But, we have decided together that we will not put a label on him. He is almost 13 years old and is a wonderful child and he copes beautifully on his own. Since this diagnosis was not suggested until he was around 10 he had already learned many coping mechanisms all on his own. The same coping mechanisms that are taught to Asperger's patients all the time. He just came up with them on his own out of necessity. So when she revealed what she truly felt, it was not painful for me or scary. It was really no surprise. I just felt a huge wave of peace flow over me. Now I know why he does a lot of the things he does. Why he seems to be trying to drive us crazy at times. Well, he very well could be doing that. I mean he is almost a teenager. But, when he is truly trying to deal in a "normal" way and just can't, I know now that it is not intentional. And, honestly what is normal anyway really? We have simply come to accept him for who he is. Symptoms and all. He is a gifted child in the realm of history. He loves it and has such a strong passion for it that I am very sure God has given him this gift to help others. There are not a lot of kids out there that want to be a historian. It is unfortunately a dying career. He wants to know history, in and out. That obsessive quality is one of the symptoms of Asperger's but in this case I don't see a symptom but a gift. I know a lot of people may disagree with me but I see what I am already doing being a great way to serve my son's needs. He is homeschooling which helps with his anxiety issues and allows him to work at his own pace. I feed both my kids an organic diet with very few sweets and dyes already. And the most important I believe, I accept my son for who he is inside and out. I strongly feel that he knows this and has found strength in that fact. So I see his semi-diagnosis (not official) of Asperger's as a blessing. I have had to learn acceptance, patience, and unconditional love. I had all of these before I had my son. But, they have been amplified a thousand times. In a way my kids are my greatest teachers. What a truly wonderful thing!

John Lennon "Beautiful Boy"
I would like to dedicate this song to my son. I love you always.

Close your eyes,
Have no fear,
The monsters gone,
He's on the run and your daddy's here,
Beautiful, Beautiful, beautiful, Beautiful Boy,
Before you go to sleep,
Say a little prayer,
Every day in every way,
It's getting better and better,
Beautiful, Beautiful, beautiful, Beautiful Boy,
Out on the ocean sailing away,
I can hardly wait,
To see you come of age,
But I guess we'll both,
Just have to be patient,
Yes it's a long way to go,
But in the meantime,
Before you cross the street,
Take my hand,
Life is just what happens to you,
While your busy making other plans,
Beautiful, Beautiful, beautiful, Beautiful Boy

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