Friday, January 17, 2014

Ice Cream and Empathy

At the end of dinner, Maelynn proudly proclaimed she'd finished, then asked for ice cream.  

"Sure, sweetie.  Just wait a few minutes to let Daddy or Mommy finish eating, ok?"

From across the table, a voice breaks not only through silence but through stereotypical barriers.  It shatters the idea that autistic people lack empathy or feeling for others.  

It warms my heart.  It makes the future look easier.  It takes the teeth from fear that he may not care about us at all... that he might just be happier if we let him be. 

It proves so much wrong.  

It proves so much right.  

It shows that a lot of the "MAELYNN NOOOOO!!!" that we hear is pure biggest brother annoyed by baby sister.  

Just like his chin on my shoulder as he walks by and stops where I'm sitting in the kitchen, his requests for "Mommy will sit on the couch", and his rare look back while he walks into school with his teacher, this one simple demand shows his heart.  

He loves us.  He wants the best for us.  I'm not just a vending machine; his brother and sister aren't merely annoyances.  We are his family.  He sees us as his family.  

His people. 

His place to belong and be safe.  

His home. 

His comfortable place, if there is one in the world, is right here with us.  

And you know what else?  It's all going to be okay. 

What in the world did he say?  What could evoke such emotion, thoughts, and pride? 

It's all in how he said it.  It's all in the recipient.  In the fire in his eyes when he stared straight into my eyes as he spoke.  Yes, straight into my eyes!  What a rare treat! 

It was simple.  

"Mae-mae WILL have vanilla ice cream!" 

He thought I was going to deny her.  He defended his sister.  

Such a brother.  

Such an amazing guy.  

Thanks be to God.

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