This blog is directed to Bryan. When I first started writing I wrote for me; to get my feelings out, to share and just to give people a glimpse of our lives. But as time goes on I realize the boys may find this interesting later in life, reading what I was thinking about them at various times. I try not to over intellectualize when I write; I like things to just pour out. Since we left Pennsylvania last week I have not been able to shake the wonder of Bryan’s daily existence at camp. Can’t I get one of those tiny video cameras to follow him around?
Bryan, what are your thoughts about summer camp? Do you like it, are you happy there, do you understand Mommy and Daddy’s reasons for sending you? I have always learned from facing things that were hard for me, but at the time I didn’t like my parents very much for it. Now as a parent I realize how tough it is on both sides. I always had separation anxiety as a child and each time I did something that was difficult I became more confident in my abilities and was able to draw strength from those triumphs. Fighting your demons, yikes it sucks. We hope you will feel that way too. I want you to know deep in your heart and in your head that we sent you there to learn things we cannot teach you, no parent can teach true independence. We want you to be able to do for yourself. We believe in you and know that although you struggle with language, you do not struggle with intelligence or emotions. By taking care of yourself you will grow and mature. We are your parents, it is our job, and our deepest desire to give you the tools to succeed in life. We also want you to have fun. We want you to have the benefit of what we had, summer fun, games, sports, trips, etc. We also want to give you the opportunity of friendship. Perhaps this is your biggest hurdle; not actually approaching other kids, but developing real friendships with conversations that are meaningful and appropriate. This will come over time, but only through constant exposure. If we don’t give you these opportunities, how will this happen? I am amazed by parents that don’t take their kids anywhere and then wonder why they don’t know how to behave in public? Our feelings are if you want your special needs child to learn how to do something, show them how!!!
Bryan, we love you for who you are but we also want you to be the best Bryan you can be. You have tremendous charm and warmth and we adore all of you. We don’t want to change you from being you, but we hope you understand that we want to give you everything we know how to afford you a good life. We do the same for Jason, but as you know, some things come more naturally for him and for others who do not have autism. Autism is just one aspect of who you are. We know you are aware that you have autism; but we are just not sure if you truly know what that means. We do know that you understand that you are different in this way. To us it means you have to work harder in some areas than other people do. In your case, expressing yourself verbally and having conversations are your biggest challenges. We wish we could peek into your mind to see if you truly know in your heart how grateful we are that you are our son, and what a beautiful spirit you are. We love you and your autism.
The tough parts for us are just not knowing what is in your mind. I know at times you tell us in your own way but I always want to be sure we are getting it right. Do you like camp or do you just say this because you think it’s what we want to hear? I am hoping some day you will be able to fill in details for us from your childhood. Right now Daddy and I just talk about what we think will be best and try to be as honest and practical as possible.