Thursday, April 05, 2007
I wasn't sure if I was going to post my thoughts of Oprah, and her "Faces of Autism" show, as I needed some time to process it all. But, here I go anyway. The Autism Blogosphere has been full of chatters, ranging from the disappointment of Oprah not doing her homework, but relying on the stats and info from Autism Speaks, to some of the negative views of Autism that the "Speaks girls" can portray, to the whole vaccine topic being thrown out again by the daughter of Autism Speaks founders, (the Wrights).
Yes, I had a lot of mixed emotions while watching it, and was gritting my teeth, mostly through the first segment hoping for some positive discussion and not just negative portrayal. I was happy for Oprah's attempt though, in doing the show, in getting the word out, so that we can continue to strive for more autism acceptance. That was the biggest blessing. Also, I loved the father at the end who reminded us all of how much we get from our little ones with autism.
The part of the show that was the hardest for me (believe it or not was not the part when Katie went mad about vaccines causing autism***) was the sibling segment. What life is like for a sibling. Ask Zach. I did, as we watched that portion of the show together.
I struggle with all the time I spend with Sam compared to the time I spend with Zach. It really hit home with me a week ago. Zach, our oldest NT son was sick. He is rarely sick. He had a high fever for a couple days, could barely walk, and was extremely out of it. He needed a lot of my time. I also just wanted to spend time snuggling with him and rubbing his hot forehead. Mothers of 9 1/2 year old boys dream of times like this, because those opportunities fade fast at this age. I hardly had time to take care of Zach it seemed. I recall myself actually almost yelling at Sam that he needed to go play, as he paced the foot of the bed back and forth saying then screaming over and over "tome on mommy, tome on mommy, tome on mommy". I needed to be Zach's mom and show him that as well.
I have written before about how we divide time as a family a lot. I am thankful for a husband who has kept up with our plan since the beginning of this journey, and that plan was to never take time away from Zach. Even though Brent travels a lot, he makes sure to do lots of regular things with Zach. They weekly enjoy chess and checkers together at a favorite coffee shop on Saturday mornings. They go for special walks around the lake. Zach and I sneak in playing some PS2 after brother is asleep some nights. But it still seems like there isn't enough time to give him the time he always deserves.
So, I did it, after we watched Oprah's siblings of autism segment, I asked Zach if he felt like the boy on the show. The boy who said he never got attention, that in fact he had to create his own little world, kind of like his brother's sometimes, that his parents are always giving his brother attention and not him. My relief was Zach's expression (that typical duh look that 3rd graders are learning to do so well) followed by a quick "I don't ever feel like that. Actually, I get extra stuff with you and dad that he doesn't." He then went on to refer our silly nights watching our tivo shows after brother is in bed, his favorite being the nights his father, him and I are laughing hysterically at Dwight on The Office.
A Twist of Faith
I am thankful for the way Brent and I are working together for this family, for being on the same page, for keeping our family a family. We had a friend tell us, shortly after we received Sam's diagnosis, that families with autism have a divorce rate of 80 percent, top that off with a husband whose profession also boasts one of the highest divorce rates...we are both thankful and blessed that God leads us both on this journey. Thankful that we have supportive family, friends and faith.
"always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." ~Ephesians 5:20
(***Note~ for our family, our personal experience and belief is that vaccines are and were not a factor in Sam's diagnosis. I have the lot numbers from his vaccines to prove it.)