Autism at Home: Love Breeds Chaos
Our house would never win a good housekeeping award.
Our laminate floors don’t gleam and the carpet always looks like it needs to be vacuumed. The dogs never went to obedience school, though they sometimes—only sometimes, mind you – behave better than the kids.
Our boys aren’t spit-shined; they don’t have perfect manners, even when they try. Something intangible sets our home apart from others, though. You can hear it in the giggles that echo through the halls, see it in the mismatched assortment of toys lining the floor, smell it in the air as peanut butter, laundry detergent, bleach, and the slightest hint of eau-de-dog mix together. (We should package it!)
As the kids come running, dogs dancing just behind them, you’ll feel like you’ve come home, because when you visit these boys, on their turf, you’ve become one of the family.
Where you See Autism
In the hit and run hugs, the repetitive questions, the mystifying mix of aloofness and excitability … the boys show how unique they are. Autism might shade the way they hug, the questions they ask, and their quirky-but-somehow-lovable attitudes, but these guys aren’t actually defined by that word.
Where you may see autism in Logan’s preverbal chattering, his wide eyes begging you to know exactly what he’s thinking about saying, we see his attempt to bring us into his world.
Where autism is the decidedly obvious factor in Bobby’s questions, asked in a multitude of ways multiple times, we see a curiosity about the world around him, an insatiable need to know.
Where autism is whispered in Andy’s sentence structure or word choice, in his confusion about when to speak or how to answer a question, we see his careful exploration of the people that make up the world around him.
Where you See Chaos
Despite our best attempts to organize, prioritize, strategize … there is an air of chaos when you visit us here … from the boys and the dogs waiting to meet you to the crayon colorings we still haven’t wiped off the wall in the front room.
Where you see chaos in one kid asking questions, another trying to worm his way into a hug (just before running away giggling), and the other talking above the others to make sure you hear his latest triumph, we see an ease in their home environment hard to find anywhere else.
Where you see a colorful array of scribbles along the front room wall, we see Logan’s mastery of crayons and love for the ability to make his mark on his world (Okay, yes, we should really clean that up!).
And in Andy’s sketches, littered throughout the house, we see a casual love for the world around him – from the shows and the characters he loves to his family and on to make believe – his love for all things creative adds a special twist to this chaos.
Where you hear the chaos of repeated questions, high-pitched giggles, and ongoing conversation all occurring at once, we hear the sound of our kids being kids – something they are hard-pressed to be sometimes.
We See Love
In Logan’s literal hit and run hugs (he’ll either come tap you and run away as a kind of hug, or he’ll wrap himself around you for a second or two of stillness, forehead resting against you), we see his love for the world around him, for the joy of meeting each new person in his path.
In Bobby’s own Bobby Hug (™) he literally relaxes against you for just a moment, allowing one full side of his body to rest against yours while he grins a secret grin, and we see a unique love and empathy for the people around him.
And in Andy’s hugs, there may seem nothing remarkable in the way he squeezes you tight. But his hugs give a squeeze and a tug on the heart, and we see love for life and each person he meets in every squeeze.
Where you see Autism, Where you see Chaos, We see Love
Whether you’re a first time visitor here or a long-time friend, you instantly become family when my kids attach themselves to you. UPS man; mail lady; door-to-door salesman … it doesn’t matter, the quirks and love for the world around them mean my kids act a little differently, talk a little differently, even hug a little differently … but they still love with everything they have.
Our boys aren’t just an extension of the house they live in. Their lives are a complex, chaotic adventure – one they embrace enthusiastically, with true love and honest affection. Their grins and giggles, special needs and challenges, hugs and even kisses, have all combined to make this house something living, something real, something special … a home filled with autism. But more importantly, it’s filled with love.