“Yes, she’s one of my favorite bloggers,” I responded. “I’ve been reading her stuff for the past year or two.”
Carrie writes a new blog post every Monday about her family’s adventures with her son Jack, who has autism. I’m not sure how I discovered Carrie’s blog – I think someone who knew someone who knew someone else shared one of her posts on Facebook. After reading a bit of her work, it was a no brainer. I purchased her first book, What Color Is Monday?
I read it quickly and decided I had found a friend – or at least a fellow autism mom who experiences feelings similar to mine: love, doubt, fear, and joy. I'm not the only traveler on this autism journey.
I will never know what it’s like to live in Carrie’s house with her five children, husband, and a dog. I won’t pretend to understand Jack’s obsession with license plates or his fascination with dressing in a certain Halloween costume. In the same way, nobody can really understand my son Isaac’s obsession with his blue boots, country music, and our local grocery store. Perhaps nobody will really understand Noah’s obsession years ago during lunch when he looked at our digital clock every day and saw the time line up in a perfect sequential pattern of 12:34 p.m. and 56 seconds. All was right with the world when Noah viewed this moment in time, and when it didn’t and he screamed and cried and carried on – I was glad I could reset the clock to 12:33, and nearly two minutes later we could attempt to see it again.
In spite of our differences, Carrie and I are in the same club. I recognize bits of my sons in Jack. It is my hope that others find similarities or connection in the stories I share about my family. I write to share my funny stories and poignant experiences about autism. I write to make sense of my life and to help others understand that autism isn’t the end of the world.
I write to show other parents they are not alone.
This year Carrie published her second book, Someone I’m With Has Autism, and I bought it earlier this week. I haven’t read it yet, but know it’s a collection of her blogs with new material sprinkled throughout. I’m writing a book, too, and I want to dissect her latest text to see how she put things together. She seems like a pro, whereas I feel like I’m just getting ready to dig in.
When I sat down on the couch and flipped through the pages of the new book, I was surprised to see MY words about MY sons at the bottom of page 196.
Carrie had written a blog about Jack’s attempt to understand his autism diagnosis – what it is, what it means. It’s difficult. Talking about autism is an ongoing conversation. At least, it has been in our home. Jack wondered who else had autism because he did not know anyone else who had been diagnosed.
He felt alone.
Carrie asked her readers to chime in on her Facebook page, sharing the first name of someone with autism, and whatever else they wanted to share. She didn’t expect the outpouring of responses.
I remember seeing her question and responding to that post on Facebook. I was happy to do it, thinking perhaps Jack would read or hear my words, and he would know that not one – but two – boys with autism live in our home. And maybe – just maybe – he would see himself in my words, the way I sometimes see my kids when I read about Jack.
Hi Jack! Guess what? I have two sons who have autism. They are twins. They are thirteen years old and live in Iowa. One boy loves to go swimming, he loves elevators, and he has always enjoyed watching doors open and close. The other has a spectacular memory (he knows many facts), he sings with perfect pitch, and he plays the trombone.
We find solace in each other. We feel validated when we know our journey is not a solitary one.
It’s nice to see it in print.