Wednesday, January 18, 2012


>Fearless.....other than a debilitating fear of animals, a perfect word to describe Katie is simply.....fearless. We were driving down the road today, just her and I, and the song "Fearless" came on the radio. Now I love to sing in the car, at the top of my lungs, off-key. My children usually do not love it when I do this however. I think it is funny to embarrass them, and if I know their friends well enough, I will sing and act crazy for the friends too. Teens and pre-teens would rather die than act like a fool, but I have a dance buddy in Katie. We got that van rocking as we were singing along, a perfect duet, Katie clapping her hands and swaying back and forth. Katie doesn't care who sees her or hears her. She dances and sings for the pure pleasure of it. I am sure you all have done it when no one is around. Just picture your favorite song coming on the radio. You are driving fast, windows rolled down, wind blowing through your hair. Doesn't it feel good? Don't you wish you could feel that free all the time?

Imagine living your whole life without worrying about what people might think of the choices you make. Would you have chosen a different job? Would you have talked to that outcast at school? Would you have cried when you lost a game? That is how Katie lives. She follows her heart, and not the crowd. She sees the good in everyone, because that is the only way she knows. Imagine only seeing the good in people. Just imagine how different that would make each choice you encounter every day. Is it a naiive way to operate? Could it get you hurt in the long run? Absolutely, but I think it would take a lot of bitterness out of the world as well. As a mother, I learn as much from my children as they learn from me. I learn the most from Katie, watching her embrace life and embrace friends with a fearlessness I have never had. Have you ever been afraid to talk to someone because you think that they won't remember you? Have you ever been afraid to ask someone if you could sit at their table or play in their game? Katie doesn't even think twice about it, there is no hesitation. She jumps right into every social situation without even testing the waters. She is fearless.

The night before the first day of school. Walking into a middle school dance. Cheering in front of a gymnasium full of people. Fifth grade camp. These are things that scare me to death, that cause me to sweat and loose sleep. These are the things that Katie walks into with anticipation and energetically embraces. I am legendary for my worrying over situations that work out to be fine. I have almost made myself sick thinking and fretting, especially when Katie is entering into a new step of her life. And my husband laughs at me because as I am crying, Katie marches off, smile on her face, laughter in the air, capturing the moment and running with it. Fearless. He isn't laughing at me to make fun of me, he knows I can't help the way I am, but he loves that I care so much.

When Katie grows up, she says she wants to be a cooker. At McDonalds. Or she wants to work at Disney. She wants to spoil her nieces and nephews and buy them lots of presents and babysit for them. She wants to build a bedroom suite with a bathroom built in and a balcony. She never wants to leave home, she never wants to drive, but she does want a convertible. She doesn't want to go to her sisters weddings, but does want to go to their wedding parties, as long as there is no kissing. Katie is not afraid of her future. I am terrified. Katie is planning her future like it is the game of Life. She sometimes changes her mind a bit, sometimes about where she wants to work, sometimes about how many nieces she wants. She looks to her future like it is hers to mold, in whatever way she wants to shape it. Fearless. I look to her future with so many fears that I couldn't possibly list. What will she do after high school? Will she be able to have a job? Will she still want to live with us? What if she wants to move away from us, how will we handle that? How can I possibly protect her and take care of her when she becomes an adult and wants some independence? I don't want to put her in a bubble, I want her to live a great big life. Sometimes my wishes for her safety and my wishes for her freedom are in contrast to each other.

As much as I try to be like Katie, my job as a mom sometimes holds me back from the total freedom that fearlessness gives you. Katie taught me how to live in the moment, how to sing as if we were the only 2 people around, and how to never pass up the opportunity to talk with anyone at all. As we take more Adventures in Autism, I will have to learn to look forward to the future, and be less afraid of it. I can't wait to see what Katie has to teach me next.

1 comment:

  1. I love it!! You are right...we could all learn from that girl!