“I stopped writing down milestones because she wasn’t meeting them.” <<<Meredith wrote this eye-opening sentence in her recent post about Cece being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. It got me thinking… There is way too much comparison going on in the world. The way we measure ourselves is far too often based on what we see others able to do, and comparing ourselves to them.
I think Facebook is the best and worst invention; it allows us to stay connected with our friends and family, but it also allows us to get sucked in to other people’s lives. We watch our friends’ kids grow up, and see their milestones happen on our computer screens. Meredith would often say “did you see _____ is already starting to potty train?” or “can you believe that ____ is already saying ___?” My response has always been: “it’s okay… every kid learns to walk; every kid learns to talk. Cece is going to graduate high school just like all the rest.”
Looking back over those conversations, I don’t know that I’d change a word of what I said, but it’s become apparent that not every kid learns to walk; not every kid learns to talk; and not every kid gets to graduate. The reality of that is enough to break a daddy’s heart. But then, there I go playing the comparison game.
Over the past couple weeks, I’ve received nearly 1000 emails or Facebook messages of friends, family, and even strangers reaching out with advice, encouragement, and book recommendations (I’ve finished reading, “The Reason I Jump” and have read the poem “Holland” a dozen or so times). Something that has jumped out to me and that I keep in the forefront of my mind is this:
“when you know one kid with autism, you know ONE kid with autism.” <<< it’s safe to say that we can, from here on out, throw any comparisons out the window. No longer do we have to compare our darling little girl to our friends’ babies, we get the exciting (and I’m not going to lie… sometimes devastating) task of comparing Cece to… Cece. We get to mark her progress on her own scale, instead of standardized measurements. I started the hashtag #celebratecece to remind me of this.
Talk to you soon,