Monday, April 9, 2012


The Easter Bunny was very good to Katie this year.  He brought her a new Disney blanket, the Muppets movie, some toys from Disney "Cars", a bunch of candy, and some Pepsi.  There were a few other small presents, and she was thrilled with all of her gifts.  The Easter Bunny still comes to our house, and so does Santa and the Tooth Fairy.  Obviously, my oldest daughter is in on the situation, but my youngest still believes, and so does Katie.  I am hoping that she will always believe in the wonderful childhood stories that most kids grow out of way before they get to middle school.  I can only imagine that sometime, in the next few years, someone either at school or somewhere will clue her in to the harsh reality of the world.  But is it too much to wish that it never happens?  Is it too much to hope that she will always stay innocent, and believe in fairies and gold at the end of the rainbow and Disney magic?

I don't want Katie to stay young forever.  I don't want her to be naive about the world, I don't think that would do her any good.  I certainly hope that she doesn't get hurt by her believing in fairy tale things, but there is just something special when your children get excited about the holidays and the fantasy characters that appear and bring them treats and presents.  The whole world gets a little magical, and we can forget about our busy lives for awhile if we stop to focus on the special times that we share together.  My father in law will tell you I never want my kids to grow up, and in some ways this might be true.  I am looking forward to seeing what kind of adults that they will turn out to be, at the same time wishing they could slow down a little and enjoy the youth that they are quickly leaving behind. 

Katie is in a different category, though, and I imagine no matter how old she gets, there will always be a certain innocence that will never go away.  That can help her and hurt her at the same time.  It can help her by always focusing on the good in people, and believing them to be kind and gracious to her.  It can hurt her when all of the goodness turns out to be a lie, or worse, if there is no goodness at all.  I think she will have a hard time understanding cruelty.  I believe that it is out there, and she has been exposed to it, but I don't think she recognizes it for what it is.  I can't be there for her all the time, protecting her.  In fact, when she is in school, she is away from me more than she is with me.  I have to trust that she is safe and happy, and make sure that when she comes home, I find out all about her day and whats worries or troubles her.  If I think that there is something going on, I have to get to the bottom of the issue and make it right the best that I can.

I have a very happy child who genuinely enjoys her life.  I am very fortunate in that, because sometimes Autism can manifest itself with anger or aggression, or sadness or anxiety.  Katie has her issues, don't get me wrong, but I think I was given a very special gift in Katie's personality.  Maybe one of the concessions I am receiving, in return for being a mother of an autistic child, is that she will always be innocent and always believe in all the fun things that childhood creates.  If this is the case, imagine how much fun it will be when her sisters are older and have children.  When they come over for Christmas, "Aunt Katie" will be right in there with them, sitting on Santa's lap, baking him cookies, writing him letters, and listening for the reindeer footsteps on the rooftops.  Who wouldn't want an aunt like that?  I am excited, and also terrified, to see what sort of adult Katie will turn out to be.  Will our adventures in autism take us to Disney, watching for Tinker Bell flying through the sky, or will Katie loose her innocence like every one else?

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