Wyatt Wears Jeans

Wyatt wore jeans today.

He came home from Kindergarten last night and informed me that he had to wear jeans in order to be able to ride a horse on his field trip.

Fortunately, I keep a pair of jeans around in his size.  They are usually from a garage sale or Value Village and for the remote possibility that he might actually want to wear them.  I never imagined it would ever happen!  So, when he announced this I headed up to the attic and retrieved the jeans.  We put them on this morning and off to school he went looking very handsome and ‘normal’. 

I laughed with delight when the aide helped him out of the car.

Wyatt replied, “Don’t laugh at me.”

I said that I was laughing because I was happy. I actually cried all the way home.  That is one of the privileges of having a child with special needs…you never take for granted the little things…like wearing jeans.

Fast-forward 8 years…

Wyatt wore jeans today. He told me that he wanted to look nice for his 8th grade promotion.  So, up to the attic I went and retrieved another pair of jeans.  He complained about the button, but went off to school looking very handsome and ‘normal’. 

He informed me that I was allowed to show up for promotion, but he insisted that I didn’t ‘make a big deal’ and let me know the he preferred I didn’t come up and talk to him too much afterwards.

I smiled and told him how proud I was of him for making it through 8th grade.  I actually cried through the whole ceremony.  We had both worked so hard to get to this point. That is one of the privileges of having a child with special needs…you never take for granted the little things…like wearing jeans.

So, while other parents were celebrating their children’s promotions and snapping photos, I’m standing in the background celebrating jeans. For in wearing jeans, Wyatt reminded me of the need in all of us to be loved and accepted for who we are.  The need in all of us to be a part of the common community that we call the ‘human race’.  To me that is nothing less than a miracle.


The Gift of Autism

starI just spent the evening watching the “Marauding Swordfish” theatrical production. This production highlighted different groups of teens with special needs, specifically in navigating the social world.  The night was spent doing comedy improvisation.  The unveiled honesty was so refreshing in a world where Photoshop makes women look perfect and the media feeds us what we want to hear. 

This was a night for them to shine. It was their night to be themselves-quirky, funny, and totally honest.  I laughed and laughed at their quick wit and ability to speak what was on their mind without worrying what others thought. 

 As parents, we could not forget the long road behind us that brought us to this night.  There was the boy who wouldn’t be alive without modern medicine, the endless years of speech therapy, and the constant advocating to allow our kids to be a part of society in their own way.  To us, we knew that this night was nothing less than a miracle and savored each moment. 

For me it was a reminder of the need in all of us to be part of the human race. As we strive to be more and more of what we think we need to be, may we never lose sight of ourselves-the part of us that is truly ‘us’.  Autism has reminded me to live honestly and authentically, to value the uniqueness of each individual, and to daily celebrate the miracles in our lives. 

Thank you “Marauding Swordfish”! You were the best show in town.