Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Our Positives

My sweetest girl
OK, I probably should just stop watching TV altogether.  Last week I posted about the show Parenthood and I just HAVE TO again.   I know the blogosphere, including some very inspiring blogs I read will probably either be (1) posting about the same topic or (2) will avoid posting about it because they think the topic is ultra cheesy. So risking all that, I am going forward with my second Parenthood (the tv show, not the institution) post in a week.

Tonight's episode followed directly from last week's conclusion where Max, the character with Aspergers has just overheard that he has Aspergers and asks what it is.  What ensues are his parents trying and stumbling to explain it to him in a way he will understand, however, as often, the best laid plans don't work out and his father basically tells the kid he is disabled and the mother cries.  As much as you know this is for dramatic effect, I can so imagine this happening and I think it was done very sensitively and realistically.  We all think about the perfect thing and way to tell our kids something and then the moment comes, we are nervous and emotional and that beautiful speech in your head just doesn't come out, and what does come out is your confusion, your sadness and your anger over the situation.  

When they visit their kinda-sorta-therapist-advisor-on-all-things-autism he was, without meaning to, kind of judgmental on how this was approached by the parents and the truth of the matter is that they were caught off guard and had to pinch hit.  Still the therapist advised them to talk to their son again, and try to make their explanation simple and descriptive and to try and point out all the positive things about autism.  

I won't go into what happened, because you can watch Parenthood for yourself and probably predict since it is TV after all, but more or less what ensued after the father's was a voyage of self discovery, complete with experiencing both the beauty of autism (hearing his son wax poetic and passionate about roller coaster facts) and it's heartbreaking burden (dealing with a total meltdown when something didn't go as expected).  

It got me thinking of course to our own situation with Maya.  Certainly there is heartbreak and worry and sleepless nights and stress.  But there are also positives, many, many of those which are maybe not exactly her autism but it is difficult to separate her from it, so I don't know.  As much as I give time to the difficulties and the challenges, sometimes you just have to stop and smell the roses, so that is what I am doing (see, TV can be a force for good).  So, here are today's positives:
  • Maya has an amazing memory, her memory is like some kind of virtual rolodex, she has a file of cards that she can access whenever she wants.  She remembers things clearly as far back as 2 years old.  This comes in particularly handy when Leo forgets to bring me coffee, she is always there to remind him.
  • She has an absolute uncanny eye for detail.  When she puts a puzzle together she can wade through many pieces and just "know" by instinct which is the right one.
  • When something interests her she is interested to understand every single detail.  She knows so much about penguins, the continents and the animal kingdom.
  • She is an inherently happy child and will always choose for happiness.  She can always be comforted with a cuddle, holding hands or a hug and a kiss.
  • She's innocent for her age, she believes her stuffed animals feel things the way she does so she always does things like covers them with a blanket when she leaves her room so they are not cold. And they almost always miss their mommies and daddies.  
  • She tells beautiful stories with very intricate details, in two languages nonetheless
  • Although she has trouble sometimes controlling or expressing her feelings, she understands human feelings very well and has a deep understanding of what rules human beings. 
My sweet, kind, beautiful girl is a treasure trove of wonderful qualities.  Whatever she may or may not be able to do, I certainly hope those things stay with her for life.  


  1. Dana, You are so blessed to have such a beautiful, sensitive, loving, brilliant daughter. You know your child better than most parents and I love that you are focusing on the positive!


  2. you are both sooo wonderful ( you and your daughter )
    I am looking forward to watching the show as well

  3. I admittedly don't watch the show. I tried in the beginning, but I couldn't get into it. I think I am a little bitter b/c I can't relate to having unlimited resources to help my kid. And the rest of the show just never caught my interest. Bad Autism mom, I guess. ; )