Tuesday, November 11

Word to the Wise

I have recently received comments at this blog noting that I *ahem* talk about five-year old Andrew a lot here (implying perhaps my bigger kids--14 and 12 years old--don't get as much radio play.) I suppose it's a fair comment and I am not in contention with that statement. I do write about him a lot. To be fair, I feel like I feature the big kids here as much as their embarrassment factor will allow. So I am not defending my position or rationalizing it in any way, but I do want to explain it. I also want to say that I am fully cognizant that this is my blog and my business what I write. I believe my readers and my friends will either hang around and enjoy the view or they will head to some other blog for their good times. (I'll miss you if you go!)

Digressing. I shall now wax poetic.

Andrew is my third child. His arrival into our lives was not only a surprise it was a total roller coaster turnaround. What we were doing, collectively and individually, before his arrival is no longer what we are doing. I credit his entrance into the family directly for that fact.

Andrew is younger than second-born Emma by nearly 8 years. That friends, is what one calls a parenthood gap; a chasm of space; a span of time; an expanse stretching into the horizon....
We (as parents) were trucking along in the child raising track having spotted the light at the end of the tunnel. At 9 and 7 years, Ian and Emma were fully functioning, independent, autonomous little people living in our house. And things were really good.

And then the window on the stick had two lines.

And we took a really deep breath.

And we got ready to welcome a new baby into our lives.

And things were really, really good.

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you also know that Andrew has autism. The official diagnosis came to us last year after months (years?) of observation, testing, re-testing, and analysis of this little guy. While it didn't come as a surprise, I imagine a word like that always carries with it an element of shock. Maybe even dismay. Ultimately, the tilted floor settled back steady and life returned to its own solid rhythm, with this nugget of information filed in the reality box.

So, my youngest child has autism, yet to make that statement so boldly and definitively is in no way an indicator of who he is or what his life is like. Nor mine, for that matter. But it is a fact.

It is also a fact that Andrew is the light of our lives. When he is not making us want to tear our hair out in frustration he is making us laugh uproariously.

When he's not busy destroying something, he is contentedly discovering the way something works.

When he is not singing at the top of his lungs, he is quietly listening to the sounds in his environment.

When he is not pushing me away, he is offering me a tender hand at my cheek.

Andrew walks to the beat of his own drum. There is no hurry in him, and this is one of the daily lessons he teaches me. And I write about it all as a way to capture the beautiful human being that he is and how blessed I feel, we all feel, because he's here with us. Because he is who he is. And he's good with that.

Very, very, very good.


  1. Beautiful comment about your son Jenn. Also, from the way you describe him, Andrew seems very very high functioning. It doesn't seem as though he can't function in a pretty normal capacity day to day. I imagine that, while a profoundly autistic child wouldn't be loved any less, that the fact that Andrew isn't one certainly makes daily life a bit easier to enjoy.

  2. It's too bad you found yourself in a position to explain yourself but you did a great job of it!

    It's also a fact that little kids just do so many damn cute things that they gotta be told constantly. As they get older, they do brilliant and clever things, too. But you do make a very important point about the embarrassment factor!

    Not everyone likes being written about at a public forum. But I know Andrew loves the idea! ;)

  3. I know why you write about Drew. I also know that because your older kids are the age that they are, you and their father are simply not cool and therefore they're not going to hang with you guys. And grace you with blog fodder.

    At least, that's how it works at my house.

  4. Andrew was meant to be in your lives. There's no greater proof of that than the words you share with us. It's that simple.

  5. I didn't mean to offend by asking for news about Ian and Emma

  6. This was an introduction of sorts for me as I am not a regular reader.....I rather enjoyed your post about Andrew, thanks for sharing.

  7. Those two times I visited Andrew completely wrapped me around his little finger.
    I think I've said it before, but in case I haven't, you have a great way of putting feelings and abstracts into words. A very deep bow/ik neem mijn hoedje voor je af!

  8. Whoever does not love stories about your sweet boy can go lurk on another blog - they are poopie heads!

  9. I still can't believe people are critical of how you write about your children on your blog. Then again, I've gotten a ton of hate mail over how I handling my diagnoses, so nothing should surprise me.

    Beautiful post.

  10. Right on woman! Being fairly new to your blog, I did not know about Andrew...that makes your blogging about him and his wonderful exploits just that much more special!

    May I ask if you've ever visited Kelley at www.magnetoboldtoo.com ? Her son 'Boo' is also autistic and she, like you, has a fantastic perspective. You are strong, loving moms who write beautifully (although your styles are waaaaaaaay different)about your wonderful children along with all the other wonderful stuff in your lives.

    I love both of your blogs and look forward to all of your stories.

    Awaiting the next edition of Andrew.

  11. I'm not going to comment on people asking about your other kids. I'll just stew about that alone....

    But Andrew is amazing. Especially when he called me "THAT girl?" I just melted inside.

    And your whole family is amazing - individually, collectively, as parents and as children. You all are just terrific!

  12. Was looking about bikes (fiets!) in the Netherlands and found your blog. We're living in the NL for a year (so far...as we know, maybe longer?) I can completely relate -as we have a 8yo and a 12yo and had
    our 3rd child last spring! WHEE!
    Feel welcome to drop a line if you'd like!

  13. OH, I have to say, read your entry about balance and bikes and laughed outloud. A friend of ours rode with her smallest on the front child carrier and then took along a child's wooden/heavy picnic table - ON HER BIKE! My husband recently rode home from quite a distance with a baby walker attached to his! You adapt and learn! LOL!


  14. Okay, so now I am realizing the reason I was meant to come to your blog late and read this post after your more recent posts, when if I had been reading up to date, it would have happened the other way around....

    and here's the reason...

    I love reading about Andrew, because in your Andrew, I see my Julia and that has everything to do with you and I being so very connected.

  15. I am so looking forward to the day I'll meet Andrew!

  16. I loved this post, Jenn.

    In every. single. way.

    And I left a little something on my blog for you - especially about some of these posts of yours.

  17. Beautiful, beautiful post! I have a cousin who's son is autistic. It never ceases to amaze me how incredibly smart he is in the fact that he uses areas of his brain that 'oridinary' people have no clue how to access.

    Maybe one day we'll learn from your son and others and we can all tap into the best of all worlds together.