Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tipping My Hand

I just attended my 20 year high school reunion this past weekend.  I am not sure who was more excited about it, me or Katie.  She has been closely following the plans all year, studying my yearbook, stalking my former classmates on Facebook, and wanting to know exactly who would be attending.  Every time we would run into a friend at a store, or church, or in the community, she would ask, "Are they going to be at the reunion party?"  When the day day came, she could barely contain herself.  She was very excited that my childhood best friend was there with her children.  When the reunion group took a tour of the school, I let her walk with her friends, but kept a close eye on her.  My husband kept saying, " She is fine, relax", but I wasn't sure how she would act or how my former classmates would react to her.

Thanks to the miracle of the internet, it is so easy to keep in touch with people that you haven't seen in years.  Years ago, reunions were spent filling everyone in on what you had been doing that past 10 or 20 years.  Now we get hourly updates on everyone we have ever met, so you can go up to someone you haven't seen in 5 years and say, "I loved your vacation pictures!"  Because of this, and because I am so vocal about Katie and her Autism, I knew that my classmates would be aware of her and her "Katie-isms".  I was actually very comfortable about her being around everyone.  At one point she suddenly decided she needed to be personally introduced to everyone there.  I told them, "You haven't officially attended the reunion until you have met Katie!"  She LOVED that, and laughed and said "Hi" to everyone there, shaking their hands.  She gave out quite a few hugs as well, especially to those that she already knew.  The feeling of acceptance that I felt for her was overwhelming though.  You really never know how people are going to act, and I was touched that so many took the time to speak with her and get to know her a little.

Over the next 2 days during the reunion activities, I was approached over and over again about how my classmates have been following this blog.  One had told me that she feels like she has a glimpse into the world of Autism when she reads them, and although she doesn't personally know anyone with Autism, she has a better understanding of it from my blog.  Another commented on how "raw" my blogs were, telling it like it is, "warts and all".  Instead of trying to act like every day is perfect and magical, I am tipping my hand to show what life is really like.  I don't hide our pain or our struggles or even our success.  I try very hard to reflect not only what Katie and my family experience, but also share what other families affected by Autism go through.  However, since I include others, I have to be cautious to not offend anyone, or misrepresent them.  I hope that those who read my blog understand this.  That this is just me and my take on my daughters life, and I would never want to hurt others by what I have to say.

I don't take praise very well, I usually try to deflect it somehow, but I was really touched at how many people enjoy what I have to say, and look forward to reading about our adventures.  It really touched my heart that my classmates took the time to speak with me about my writings, and about Katie and how she is doing.  They could have easily just talked about themselves, or high school, or about anything else.  But time and again they approached me to say how amazed they are with her, and how they look forward to my postings.  As embarrassed as I get when someone focuses on me or something I do, I love to hear that I was able to teach others about our Adventures in Autism.  To help others understand how different our life is, and to let them know how much I love my Katie.

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