I still believe that good wins.
I believe there is so much more good in the world than bad. I think it's just a matter of focus. I believe people are kind, loving and good. In photography I shoot in manual mode so I can control all the elements that are controllable. Lighting, exposure, focus. I like a small depth of field- you know- when the subject is sharp and defined and the background is beautiful, muted and blurry.
That's my perception in Life too. Good is up front and in focus, and everything else slowly fades away. This is how I choose to see Life. It isn't always my first choice, and sometimes I have to work really hard at it, but I want it to be who I am so I do the hard work. It's been one of my greatest strengths and assets when getting through hard times. It's called perception and I believe it's one of the mind's most powerful tools.
I have seen the letter written to the Family of a child with autism circulating on the Internet. If you want it read it, click HERE. It's okay if you don't want to read it though. The cruel and heartless letter suggests that a child should be euthanized because he has autism. The letter's words are offensive, disheartening and absolutely unjust. No person should ever have such words directed towards them. I have nothing but love and support for the family that it was sent to. I've seen the letter shared and reshared, oftentimes along with the words, People are so cruel. That part hurts me more than the letter. Why are people so quick to share the bad? I honestly don't understand.
Reading that letter made me feel sick. But that letter reminded me of one thing, and ONE thing alone. It taught me something I already knew- There is at least ONE crazy, misguided sick person in the World. People are not cruel. Maybe sometimes -some people are...but people are good. I have a favor to ask -keep your mind open to that thought- people are good.
I am so lucky, humble and grateful for the world of good this blog has opened my eyes to. I've met so many amazing parents and kids with Super Powers thanks to Life with Greyson + Parker. Some in real life, some only through the very real connection of our words. I hear your stories of beauty and pain and I am amazed. I am enlightened. I am changed. You remind me why I write every night Sunday through Thursday night. It's not just for my boys- It's honest to goodness for everyone struggling with a label of different. Every person we meet has a story. Some are epic, complete with a hero. Many are amazing love stories. Those are the stories I want to highlight for you. I want to shine a light on Super Powers, on learning to love different and recognizing the good in the World. I want to show you some real people who work so hard and who choose to see the good. I want to remind you just how much good is out there and just how good that good is...
Chances are if you are here reading, you already know my two loves. But just in case you are just joining our little show, here's a quick recap.
This is my son Greyson. He was diagnosed with autism a year and a half ago. He is magic and goodness and chocolate and EVERYTHING all rolled up into one. He makes me BELIEVE. He is my Teacher. He loves cars, bubbles, water and things with wheels.
Parker, who we affectionately call Doodle is pure liquid smiles and happy. He talks constantly- yet doesn't say any real words. His babble sounds just like a minion from Despicable Me. Parker's eyes are a blue that I've never seen in a Crayola box- or anywhere in Life. He will not be officially diagnosed with autism until he is closer to 3 years old- because that's how they do it where I live. Despite knowing what I know- it will still suck out my breath and crush my chest and heart to hear those words...again.
Meet Nick. Diagnosed with autism at 3. I'm positive he is an angel roaming here on earth. He lights up the room with his magic. Nick just comes alive when he plays chase. Like giddy, giggle out loud, uncontrollable laughter, constantly asking for more, more MORE! He can never get enough. Giggle and chase. Chase and giggle. Stop for a second. Can't you just hear it? Nick is amazing at geography -like crazy good. He remembers where people he likes live- and even remembers which freeway to take to get there. I'm pretty sure his whole amazing family has Super Powers of their own.
This is Vinnie. I instantly smile when I see this smile. Vinnie and his parents have worked so hard and come so far. Before- nothing made Vinnie happy, but now he lights up when he sees his family and close Friends. That's not something a Spectrum Mom ever takes for granted. After much pain, perseverance and hard work by Vincent and his Parents, Vinnie can finally talk. It's amazing. He likes going to school, kicking a soccer ball or hitting a baseball "all the way to the ocean". After two years he can finally put his clothes on by himself- and his Mom says you can see the pride in his face. He's a pretty amazing little guy who inspires me and gives me hope.
And I am so so happy to introduce you to Cash. Yes, THE Cash that Margo wrote about below. Couldn't you just DIE from his cute? A thousand words wouldn't do this picture justice.
Cash has autism and Sensory Processing Disorder with a Speech and Motor delay. Cash loves Pokemon, Minecraft and anything to do with helping people. He will happily give away all of his most prized possessions to a Friend if they don't have one. His kindheartedness and eagerness to make others smile brightens his Momma's most tiresome days. Cash is pure magic and he touches every soul he meets. I know he's touched mine.
AJ's Mom posted this picture on our Facebook page today and made my whole morning. He's usually too scared of the noise but today AJ stopped and had a moment with the trash truck. That is the kind of break through worth celebrating. AJ has permanent brain damage from a lack of oxygen in utero. He has mild cerebral palsy and an Auditory Processing disorder and issues with his hearing. AJ is sweet, loving and happiest when he is outside. He loves his sisters, his dog Ace and anything with wheels.
This is Quinn.
Quinn is just absolutely awesome. He makes everyone he meets a better person. Quinn has a partial deletion and partial duplication of the short arm of his 8th chromosome. His Dad doesn't know if there is even anyone else in the World with that particular brand of Super Powers. Quinn can't talk, but he makes specific sounds based on the mood he is in. Brilliant. They always find a way to communicate with us, Friend. After so much hard work, he's finally mastering the stairs all on his own. Mighty Q loves music, silliness and the laughter of other kids. He likes Monster Trucks and Toy Story. He amazes his Parent's with his ruthless strength and determination. He amazes me too.
Here is beautiful Hayden.
Something about Hayden is just so divine. Hayden has autism and epilepsy. He is non-verbal. Hayden is tall and long and lean. He loves playing with his cars and trucks on the slide, and putting together wooden puzzles. Especially when they make noise. He loves playing chase especially when finished with a crazy tickle match at the end. Hayden's rare spontaneous smiles and occasional kisses are guaranteed to light up the World.
Delaney has Asperger syndrome which is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that is characterized by difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication, alongside restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. It differs from other autism spectrum disorders by its relative preservation of language and cognitive development. Delaney loves cats, garbage trucks, anything dark pink. She also is crazy about her Nana and swimming pools. Sometimes when Delaney speaks she sounds like a little professor. She can sing the heck out of a Disney song and is an absolute joy and light to her Parent's life.
And lastly, here's sweet Landon.
Landon was diagnosed with PDD-NOS- Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not otherwise specified. It is an ASD- Autism Spectrum Disorder. MOUTHFUL. To totally oversimplify it- to have straight up Autism- you MUST have the following 3 things:
1. A communication delay
2. Trouble with social interaction
3. Autistic like behaviors which may include tantrums, spinning, sensory aversions, rigid routine -to name a few.
Usually an individual with PDD-NOS has 2 out of 3 of those criteria.
Landon is a brilliant, affectionate, tender-hearted and hilarious little boy. Goofy from Mickey's Clubhouse makes him belly laugh. He loves being chased and tickled and gives the very best hugs. He's happiest outside and loves being with his Mom and Dad and 2-month old baby sister, Delaney.
Thank you so much for being here and reading about some of our Friends. I could have gone on for days. They may be small, but they are strong. These earthly angels work so hard and teach us so much. Their parent's resilience knows no limits. They teach us to be grateful for the small things. They teach us to notice authentic beauty without conditions or constraints.
The parents of these amazing children with Super Powers know the deepest of fears and the deepest of suffering. The highest of joys and triumphs. They know a beauty and goodness from all over the World. A world where people are good. A world where people care. A world with people like you.
I needed you to meet them so you could see the good. Feel the good. It somehow makes more of it in the World. There's already so much out there, but we can always use a little more.
Life with Greyson + Parker on Facebook
A Very special THANK YOU to all the Parents who shared their story with me.