First, in recognition of Autism Awareness Month, here are the autism facts of the day:
- Statements including the words “always” and “never” cannot be applied to persons with autism. No two are alike. Autism is a spectrum disorder, which means that people with autism can be a little autistic or very autistic. So, it is possible to be bright, verbal, and autistic as well as mentally retarded, non-verbal and autistic. A disorder that includes such a broad range of symptoms is often called a spectrum disorder; hence the term “autism spectrum disorder.” The most significant shared symptom is difficulty with social communication (eye contact, conversation, taking another’s perspective, etc.). They are not all like “Rainman”.
- The word “normal” should only be used when referring to a setting on a large household appliance. Not when referring to people.
Okay, moving on….
Seems like so many of my important conversations with my children take place in the car. Maybe because they are my most captive audience while they are strapped in those seats. I don’t know. But we have talked about Jesus, friend issues, puberty…some serious “opportunities to grow”, as I like to call them.
But this wasn’t one of those times.
This particular not-so-serious moment was born out of a conversation where my kids were asking me what I liked to do as a kid. I told them how much I LOVED me some Barbies. I played with Barbies right on up to probably 6th grade…and I say that without shame–keeping in mind that back in the “olden” days (as my kids like to say!) there were no gameboys, ipods, or home computers of any kind. We DID have an Atari but I’m pretty sure my older brother monopolized that…I don’t recall getting much playing time on that at ALL. I’m sure he’ll correct me if I’m wrong. But I’m not bitter about it. Love you, bro.
While I loved my Barbies, I also loved to sing. Still do. Ask my kids. They get SICK of my incessant singing. Anyway, as I rode along with my very modern kids, I was trying to explain what a “record” was. You know, those things we had before CDs, cassettes, um, 8-Tracks. I had to explain the whole concept, round things made of vinyl, with holes in the middle. Played on a special machine. The nuances of the 78, 33 and 45 speed. They responded with a hesitant, “Ohhh yeahhhhh, I’ve heard of those before.” Anyway, I recalled for them one of my favorite pastimes when I was a 3rd grader…and I recall if for you now.
When I was in 3rd grade, we lived in Roxboro, North Carolina where my dad pastored a Methodist church in town. We lived in the parsonage (a home that is owned by the church specifically for their pastor to live in) and it was a great big ‘ole brick two-story house. I have many memories of this house–which may be blog fodder for another day. My brothers and I should compare notes, probably. I had a dresser in my room that had a big mirror. Among other things, I also had a record player, a 45 that I adored, a hairbrush, and a silky robe. I know what you’re thinking: Where is she going with this?
The 45? My only one at the time. Debby Boone’s “You Light Up My Life”, circa 1978. Probably my older brother’s most hated song of all time, thanks to me. Because, when I was 9, it was my most favorite song of all time.
The hairbrush? My microphone, silly.
The silky robe? Well, that was my long flowy Cher hair, of course. Oh, how I dreamed of having long flowy Cher hair. Surely I’m not the only one who used my robe to create the hair?? It was a fine art of tying the long sleeves around the underside of my (very not cute short pixie) hair,”do rag” style, with the rest of the robe positioned over the the back of my head, just so, that it flowed down my back. It was gawrgeoussss, y’all! With my long silky robe hair, I would stand in front of my dresser mirror, brush in hand, Debby Boone blaring, flipping my long flowy Cher hair, singing my lungs out. Over. And over. And over. And over. I’m so sorry I tormented you, bro.
Man, I loved that song.
Good times. Good times.