I have to remember that even as I'm sharing and chronicling our lives and struggles with autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders to keep things balanced. We have much to be thankful for. And, believe it nor not I'm a pretty laid-back, relaxed guy. Often carefree and optimistic. I'm not really negative about life, (only myself, which is more of a self-esteem, insecurity thing), and usually I find enough wonder in the world and take pleasure in simple, everyday things. So, I'm going to balance out my posts, make sure the blog doesn't drift too much one way or the other.
Madison is wonderfully creative, imaginative, care-free girl who is bright and happy and joyous. We've read to her since eight months old, so her verbal capacity and intellectual growth is astounding, but in many ways she's astonishingly innocent. Somehow, I hope to encourage and preserve this in her, not that she'll grow up naive and sheltered, but that she won't lose that "wonder".
I remember those days fondly, and she's basically a little girl version of me. Some days, that insistent belief in the fantastic and unbelievable is all that gets me through the day (hence, another reason why I love to read and write about the fantastic and weird). I teach many teenagers - especially girls - who already seem too worn down by the grim realities of life, too wordly wise and fatigued by all life's troubles. I can't control her, I can't hold her down, but one of my greatest wishes is for Madison to avoid this fate.
She's at a really fun stage. She's noticing EVERYTHING, in the minutest detail (this, of course, has made us VERY aware of our behavior and language and topics of conversation, but that's another story for another time) and she thinks it's all wonderful and beautiful. A great instance of this occurred last week. She attended a community camp which ran in the evening, and when we brought her home it was just getting dark and all the stores along the Vestal Parkway were lighting up. The first night on the way home as we hit the main drag on the Parkway she let out an enraptured gasp and said, "Look! The town is glowing! Everything is glowing!"
For the rest of the week, as much fun as the community camp was for her, I think the highlight of the evening was driving through what she called "The Glowing Town." Madison is five, has always went to bed early, and we live out in the country - so it was like she'd discovered this magical world that before now had been hidden from her. It didn't LOOK like this:
but I have no doubt it looked like that to her, and you know what? It looked pretty neat to me, too...just because of the new way she looked at it. She changed it for me, with her wonder and imagination.
Adults do lots of crazy, nonsensical...even inadvisable things to "recapture their youth". Probably the easiest and most natural way to do this would be to pay attention to our children, see the world through their eyes and discover new, fantastic sights all over again for the first time (most cliched ending ever, but what can I say? It's early. )