Those eyes. I remember when those eyes first met with mine the second they yanked your scrawny body out of me. I wish I could say it was love at first sight. I so wanted it to be. But it was more like mutual fear. It’s been six and a half years, yet sometimes we still lock eyes in the same way.
Last night in the bath we had one of those moments. In between a series of scenes from Caillou that you were re-enacting with your usual abundance of joy, you drifted off into deep thought, then looked at me, and your look pierced through my soul.
You didn’t look autistic in that instant. What does that even mean? I know there is no LOOK to autism. I repeated that to all the people who scrambled to say something comforting after learning about your diagnosis, and awkwardly offered, “but he doesn’t look autistic!?” Yet, sometimes I see a glimpse of a non-autistic you. One who would tell me about your day and have a conversation with me. A you without timers and pictos and medication and therapy. A you who will definitely graduate high school and possibly have a family one day.
Anyone who knows me or follows my social media knows that I advocate acceptance and awareness, but the truth is, if I could take away your Autism, I would. In fact, when Rosalia asked me the other day if I could have any wish, what it would be, and I even hesitated to tell her, because I want her to love all of you, disorder and all, but my heart needed to say it. I wish there was some exorcism we could perform to evacuate its presence. but then, what would it leave behind? Are you so great despite your autism, or because of it? Can we separate your challenges and limitations from your beautiful empathy, the purity of your soul, your insane memory and your mischievous laugh? I wouldn’t trade those things for anything, and I love you just the way you are. In fact, I couldn’t possibly love you any more, so how could I wish you to be something you are not? You are perfect. Just the way you are.