Thursday, 31 July 2014

Kids Come 1st and Feeling A Little Sad

On Tuesday, Dave and I went to the annual Kids Come 1st golf tournament.  They've been helping to support us for several years now.

It was a lovely meal and the organization raised a great deal of money.  They're shifting focus to building and maintaining group homes for young adults with autism, trying to alleviate the decade-plus waitlist.

But I actually left feeling a little sad this year.  One of the children who is being supported spoke.  He's now seventeen and going to Carleton next year to study physics.  He was diagnosed at three, was completely non-verbal and his parents were told not to expect him to progress.  Clearly, he has beaten the odds.

I'm sad to admit that a petty little part of myself is actually jealous at his progress.  This is one of the reasons why I don't like inspirational stories.  Because not every child can beat the odds (otherwise, those wouldn't be the odds).  With Alex, we've always been told what great potential he has but somehow, no one seems to be able to unlock it.

Part of me wants to ask what I did wrong.  I've worked hard with Alex (just as this other family worked hard with their son), so why did they get results and I haven't?  Accepting that this is part of dealing with a condition which we don't understand is difficult.  In thirty years, maybe we'll have a surefire treatment for autism, but it will come because of the trial and error of parents like me.  And we'll learn as much from the failures as the successes.

We'll keep working and keep trying, as the only guarantee of failure is not to try.  I don't want to look Alex in the eyes when he's an adult and know that I didn't do everything I thought I could.

Inspirational stories are great for those who aren't in a particular situation.  But me, I draw more strength from those without unusually good results.  The people who measure success in inches and still fight just as hard.

Those are my heroes.

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