I've had a lot of time to think lately and I've determined that as hard as Lex's diagnoses of autism and sensory processing disorder were for me to handle initially now they are a blessing.
Where else can you get an education that takes you so far outside yourself for free?
I had to learn that typical doesn't mean better it just means similar to others. I love that Lex isn't typical. It means I get to enjoy every word, every new skill and every sign of affection because they were fought for. This isn't to say if he were like his neurotypical peers I wouldn't enjoy him but it gives me a chance to enjoy him more.
I'm not the only one that gets the advantage of a Lex based education. The kids in his daycare get a special treat when Lex wants to play and be part of their games. These kids are truly wonderful people. More often than not the twins (E and O) ask me if Lex has school each day and when they find out he does and won't be staying to play they let me know how bummed they are that Lex won't be there with them. One little girl (C) is so his daycare mommy. She wakes him gently after nap and frequently sits with him and rubs his back when he's upset. She is also patient when it comes to him interfering with what she's doing or when he's more rough with her. She almost never tattles on him but instead uses her gentle nature to coax him into doing what she wants. Her sister (H) is absolutely in love with Lex. When we come in she always yells out for Lex by name and wants to be near him. She is a little less than 2 years younger than him so he feels most comfortable with her because her speech and skills are closer to his own than the other kids (who are all right around his age but are on track for speech and other developmental milestones). Lex loves to play with H's curly hair and she loves to let him because it's obvious that they care for each other. When I go to pick up Lex H always brings his toys and shoes to him and walks with him to the door. When her and C's dad gets to daycare before we leave Lex even shows him love (frequent hugs and Lex has given him a couple of kisses).
What Lex has taught me is that it's okay not to fit into the box that other people expect you to be in. That being yourself is far more fun. He has showed me that even hard times can be worth it for the smiles and kisses that come later. I can ignore rude people in the store so much easier now than before because I'm proud that Lex wants to be heard when we're at Walmart even if it causes the old people to scowl. He's letting me see that a simple trip to get milk is an adventure and should be enjoyed as such. He also has taught me that I don't need to care what people think because he doesn't. I'm sure as time goes on he'll start to realize he is different from his friends but if the kids at daycare are any indication of the kids that want to be around him I'm sure he'll do just fine. We can always continue to educate others on what it is to be autistic.
Autistic in our world means being: mysterious, talented, silly, caring, exceptional, funny, brilliant, smart, unique, gifted, curious, brave, zany, keen, fun, interesting, happy, clever, intriguing, sensitive, goofy, aware, blessed, musical, human, lively, capable, sharp, energetic, extraordinary, intelligent, expressive, artistic, comedic, charismatic, active, witty, able, bright, quick, wise, kind, productive, humorous, original, remarkable, inventive, loving, strong, amusing, imaginative, cool, creative, special, soulful, amazing, joyful, spirited, inspirational and surprising. In our house it means being anything and everything Lex wants to be including the best teacher a mom could ask for.