By Bernice M. Olivas
Laughter is the all the things.
“There are perks to autism.”
My lunch companion is skeptical.
“Autism gives me time.”
They don’t understand and that’s okay because I’m happy to explain it.
“My sons are eight ten and they still hold my hand when I walk them to class. They don’t care what their friends think.”
Every parent I know laments the passage of time. They grow so fast, change so fast. They move out, move on. They go away at the tender ages of eleven or twelve; fourteen or fifteen if a parent is lucky. They go away—to their friends, their peers, their sports, their worlds where the parents are observers at best, interlopers at worst. They come back, eventually, and it’s beautiful. But they do leave us and we miss them. Autism brings with it the gift of time. They still grow, and change, go away, and come back but it all happens at softer, kinder pace. It’s languid, each step drawn out, every stage rich and full. My sons are eight and ten years olds and they still hold my hand.
They still play with me and play with my children, flappy, spinning, joyful laughter play, is self-love, self-care, and a gift.