I’m More Than a Bird. . . . .But It’s Not Easy to Be Me

Five For Fighting’s song, Superman, has always reminded me of Jack.  From the time he was a baby, this song seemed to belong to him.  In the same way that Tiny Dancer was christened as Elle’s song, Superman seemed to capture Jack’s essence.  This morning, as I tell my latest story from the journey, it plays in the background. . . .reminding me that sometimes it is just difficult to be who we really are.  Autism makes it so much more difficult to tell the world who you are, what you believe, or how your will find your way in the world.  Like the Superman metaphor, sometimes we just expect so much from others that we forget to look closely at who they really are.

I love to write. . . make no question about that statement.  But, for today, words seem inadequate to tell you the story.  So,  I will use pictures.  Before you get there, though, let me give you the back story.

Both of my children are incredibly photogenic and I have spent endless hours attempting to translate their personalities into colorful photos.  As B’s deployments increased and lengthened, I felt the need to pull out the camera more and more frequently.  He missed so much of how they became who they are that, at the very least, I could send him pictures.  As they grew up, they both gravitated to the cameras.  Some were lost. . .others were broken. . . but not before I was able to see, through their eyes, what made up their world.

Of the two, oddly enough, Jack was my more prolific photographer.  As Elle became more verbal, her need to tell me things moved from the visual to the audible.  She was able to tell me what she wanted, when she wanted it, and what wasn’t working for her.

But, for Jack, pictures, movies and music became his method of sharing his thoughts.  Stealing my IPhone, with a glint in his eyes, he would zoom around the house photographing objects, things, people.

Right before Christmas, one of my lovely friends invited several old friends and me to accompany her on a tour of the East Wing of the White House to see the Christmas decorations.  While we had been told we couldn’t take pictures, I still took my IPhone.  Arriving there early on that December morning, we realized that pics were allowed.  Using my phone (which actually has better definition than my old Canon SLR) to capture the colors, feeling and memories of our time together, I filled the camera roll with special moments.  Intentions are always a good thing. . .even when other things happen to disrupt their movement into behavior.  Sometimes, that disruption looks alot like my Jack.

I had intended to make lovely memory books for each of them. . .using my photos.  Sitting down one evening to download the memories for printing, I realized that they were all missing.  Digging through the files on my design computer, I panicked.  They were missing. . .gone. . . completely (and, yes, my friends from that day. . .that is the reason your books are a tad late).

Someone had deleted my photos.

Skip forward to last night.  Over the weekend, I had refurbished some furniture, intending to post for friends who follow what happens in my studio.  Opening the camera roll to show my new friend the latest work out of Esmerelda Designs. . . . I discovered that, once again, my pictures were missing.  What I found, though, was much more enlightening. …and encouraging.

Jack has been reading Dr. Suess books the last couple of weeks.  Using my IPad, he can have the stories read to him and then he repeats the lines.  As a result, for the last several days, all of our discussions have been about Green Eggs and Ham.  Following me everywhere through the house, he asks me if I would eat them “here or there.”  After four days of these questions, I know the answers as well as he does.

As I said, I love to write. . . .but today, I am going to let Jack’s pictures tell you the rest of the story.  So, download Superman onto your IPod or whatever you use to listen to music. . . .sit back and enjoy some Green Eggs and Ham.

“Would you like them here or there?”

 “Would you like them in a house?”

 “Would you like them with a mouse?”

“Would you eat them in a box?”

“Would you eat them with a fox?”

“Would you? Could you? In a car?”

“You may like them in a tree!”

“Could you, would you, on a train?”

“In the dark?”

“Would you, could you, in the rain?”

“Could you, would you, with a goat?”

“Would you, could you, on a boat?”

Autism. . . . .can be exhausting, frustrating, painful. . . ..but when you get that little peek into your child’s brain, you feel as though you have unlocked the mysteries of the world.  He may not be Superman, but he is pretty amazing.

Enjoy your journey today. . . and look for those ordinary individuals are really nothing short of amazing.

PS:  Words in quotations are from Dr. Suess’s Green Eggs and Ham. . . .


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Krista
    Feb 21, 2012 @ 20:12:52

    Love it, so cool…


  2. Michelle (Denise's sis)
    Feb 22, 2012 @ 03:20:56

    It seems you both really have a say with “words”.


  3. Debbie Gillum
    Feb 22, 2012 @ 13:20:21

    Reminds me of my son’s furious drawings, complete with lots of perseveration, of all the things in his imagination. His way of expressing his thoughts… As always, Leslie, a great read…


  4. Julie Keon
    Feb 27, 2012 @ 16:44:59

    I am listening to “Superman” as instructed and thoroughly enjoy this post and the amazing photographs! This was so very touching.


  5. alissa murray
    Apr 04, 2013 @ 13:27:21



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