Friday, December 14, 2018

I Love My G-Man

We recently learned that our son Gabriel has a chromosomal deletion that will make it difficult for him to learn the same way other kids do. It will present itself in behaviors that are typically associated with autism. It can be hard for him to focus on a given task. It affects his balance and coordination and vision and muscle tone.

He’s going to struggle with a lot of life.

Recently Gabe told us that sometimes he sits by himself at recess because nobody at school wants to play with him. “On the outside always looking in, will I ever be more than I’ve always been?”

But here’s the thing - also recently, Gabe sang “No One Is Alone” from Into the Woods, perfectly on pitch and able to recall almost all of the words.

His mind is beautiful. He is always creating, or watching videos about people creating. He likes to cook, and to prepare his meal with as many condiments as we will allow. No Lego brick is safe from his imagination; his constructions are legendary. To be outside under a tree digging in the dirt for hours would be his idea of the perfect afternoon. He does not like to throw things away, since they could be building materials for the fabulous machines he invents on a regular basis.

Gabe’s creativity helps him cope with his social anxiety. Kitty is Gabe’s constant companion, his very best friend. Sometimes when somebody asks him something, Gabe answers with a “Meow” that is so soft and subtle that it is really hard to hear. When Kitty gets lost, the world comes to a screeching halt until he is located. As Hobbes is to Calvin, Kitty is to Gabriel.

And he sings. His pitch memory is remarkable, his tone is angelic. Gabriel can hear a song one time, and then twenty minutes later we overhear him humming the tune to himself while he plays Legos. His best singing is done this way, when he is by himself, busy with some other task. There is music within him that bubbles up in not quite random ways.

Last week I saw this video, and it captivated me. Please give it a quick watch…

Our Gabe is the little mountain, gazing up at the strength and confidence of the big mountains, wanting what they have, not realizing that he has so much of his own beauty to offer.

Every kid has something to offer. Every kid matters. The ones who learn and think and see the world a bit differently than most of us have gifts that are beautiful and unique. It may not be strength or wealth or power as the word defines those things, nevertheless each and every kid needs to understand their inherent worth.

Please be careful, grown-ups. Just because a child isn’t acting like you think they should act, basically being smaller versions of you, doesn’t mean that they are being “bad” or that something is “wrong” with them. They don’t need to be fixed; they need to be seen, to be heard.

They need encouragement, enrichment, and support. They need patient teachers and compassionate friends. They need families who love them unconditionally.

They need to know that they matter.

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