Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words, and never stops at all
And sweetest is the gale is heard; and sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm...
~Emily Dickinson

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The puzzle with missing pieces...

Kannon never ceases to amaze my mind with his words of insight.
As ironic as this is, since most of you know he has a great deficit in the language department.

With tomorrow being Autism Awareness day I had to share this story.
I share it in hopes it will bring a smile to your heart, a glimpse into Kannon's life, and a greater compassion to those living with Autism.

Kannon loves puzzles. He always has. I remember one of the first times he saw one out of it's box all spread out on our table…his eyes scavenging as his mind was racing to put it all together.
It was great to watch it all unfold.
Being that the chosen symbol so to speak for Autism is a puzzle piece, I thought this story was perfect to share for Autism Awareness.

The other day Kannon was in his room and for whatever reason on this day he decided to work on a puzzle he had got as a gift last year for his birthday.
It's a 500 piece puzzle, so pretty decent size for a little dude…
He had a few pieces put together here and there and I left him to his project.
I came back to check in about 30 minutes later and he had about half the puzzle done. There were pieces missing within bigger parts of the puzzle and he was sitting there with one piece in his hand leaning back against the wall staring up at the ceiling.

"Kannon are you alright buddy…you taking a break from the puzzle?"

"Mommy, it will all go together…it will all fit together…I just need a break…head hurts"

He sat there for another 5 minutes or so just dazed. Sitting with this piece on his hand his head against the wall and not a care in the world.
Finally he sat up, looked at the puzzle got up and put the piece he had in his hand aside next to his books.

"Mommy, this one is special…this needs time…"

"Time? Do you want me to help you?"

"No. I don't need help. It will all fit later…in time"

Then off he went into the living room, poured himself a glass of water, put his feet up and watched tv.

I checked on that puzzle piece over the next few days. It sat in the same place for 3 days. Puzzle untouched but still laid out on the table.
On the 4th day he went back to it. He sat down looked at the puzzle for a bit, got up and got the puzzle piece and without flinching put it with another lone piece on the table.

"See mommy it's fine…it's o.k."

He got up and left the puzzle again, seeming satisfied with his one piece fitting for that day.

I believe overall he left the puzzle out for about a week and would go back to it here and there.
He finished about 75% of it, then one day just put it all back in the box and cleaned up the table.

I asked him why he didn't finish the puzzle…
He said this,

"It didn't need finished…it needed time…don't worry momma it will put itself together."


The amount of metaphors in that last sentence alone are astounding.
Coming from a boy who had to learn every single skill he has today through hundreds of hours of therapy, endless days, weeks of struggles for his own words to come out to express his simplest of needs…and that comes out.

It will all put itself together, and that is the bigger picture here.
My life so far has thrown me out of any mainstream thought, action, or routine that only those who live with Autism can understand. It isolates you, turns you inside out and exposes the ugliest, rawest of truths. Most of these truths take time to accept, if at all.
I know I have made many mistakes along my journey, but I also know the hurdles I have overcome because of my love for my son. The love that gets you through the times that if you had to watch someone else go through would make you cringe, cry and maybe even look away out of fear.

I want to personally express my respect, love, and support to all families who live daily with Autism.
Who have gone through the heartbreak of grasping for your child daily when they are right there in front of you…when at the end of the day all your heart would need to hear is "I love you" yet you know you aren't going to hear it.
It really is all about these kids who have to live with this disorder every minute of every day…but it is the parents love, strength, and bravery that I want to shine a light on.
Without you, without us fighting for our kids there will never be a good day for them.
Without our ability to wake up every morning knowing what the day is going to bring and being able to take a deep breathe, put on your bravest face and get up to stand next to your child, no one else will.
The constant worry, pain and ache of all the unknowns…the financial burden and stresses...
It all takes a toll on the soul, on relationships of all kinds, on your overall health.

What I am trying to say is that we all have a puzzle to put together…our life.
Our life essentially is just one big puzzle. Piece by piece we put it together, some pieces fit easily and make sense to your mind and senses right away…while others may take longer to fit. Yin to the Yang.
That is how I have to approach my life at times. If something doesn't fit or feel right, I hold onto it for awhile and come back to it…think on it. Sometimes I put it down, walk away from it and eventually I will have to come back to it for my sanity and for my overall puzzle to go together.
Most times we won't see the bigger picture yet, of why all these pieces go together. The important thing to remember is that they are coming together for a bigger purpose…and in it's own beautiful time it will come together.

Just as I said earlier I want to shine a light on those who live daily with Autism, who have pieces of their puzzles in their hands every day and grasp onto them for dear life sometimes forcing them to fit out of frustration and love…and I want them to know that's o.k. We all do it. We all want more than anything for our lives to come together in some beautiful mosaic or puzzle, piecing it together in our own way and time.
But that's the bitch of Autism.
It doesn't really give you that control or option sometimes.

So to those parents who surrender their pieces to the greater fight, to the beings unknown…I honor your love and strength.
It is truly a gift to sometimes not have all the pieces fit, and to just hold onto them a little longer than you may like or feel comfortable doing.
That is the gift.

I hope this brings awareness to anyone who chooses to open their minds and hearts to families living with Autism.
They are building some truly beautiful puzzles that deserve time.


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