Some of you may already know that I have a 4-year-old who has been diagnosed with Autism, ADHD, and Oppositional Defiant Disorder. He has trouble communicating his needs, understanding that he can ask for his wants, and explaining his adventurous dreams and exciting experiences at school. The difficulty he has in communicating with others causes extreme emotional outbursts, violent and aggressive behaviors and a whole lot of tears.
It is really hard to watch him try so hard to talk to someone and get nowhere. We have tried sign language as an alternate, but being autistic, he has a very difficult time learning new skills. The skill has to be repeated and repeated and repeated before he can pick it up and if anything changes in his life, even small changes, he will regress and all of the progress he has made could disappear in an instant.
I often wonder what skills he will completely gain and which he won’t. I wonder if he will ever work or have a girlfriend or get married. I wonder if he will graduate high school. But there are smaller things. I wonder if he will learn to identify the letters of the alphabet or shapes.
But he’s a funny little guy and some of his quirks make me smile. Like his ability to take everything anyone says literally. The other day I was telling him that he couldn’t go outside because of his “bare feet.” He looked at me completely bewildered and said, “Asher no have bear-feet, Asher have Asher feet.” It took me a minute to realize what he was saying but when I did, I thought to myself how different his mind works and how much it is to be appreciated.
We often move about our daily lives wishing we had the strengths and talents of those around us without realizing what we have to offer. I find myself wishing that I had Asher’s ability to not get offended or take things personally. Sometimes I wish that I had my co-workers’ ability to stay SO ORGANIZED, ALL OF THE TIME. I spend so much time wishing that I was different and better that I forget to appreciate myself for all of my quirks and the way that I think.
I know that I am very kind-hearted and I love giving to others. I know that I will offer my time to help a friend or family in an instant. I know that I work very hard to be an honest and loyal person. But instead of spending my time letting myself know what I think of myself, I spend my time comparing myself to everyone around me.
Everyone gets a Christmas wish – whether you believe in them or not. My Christmas wish is for me and all of you to remember the amazing qualities, gifts, and talents that you have that make you so much you and not those that you compare yourself to. Don’t waste your Christmas wishing to be someone else. You were made the way that you were and so was I. Enjoy it. And challenge yourself to become more of the person that you already are.