I know most of you (welcome new friends!) are here for the slipcovers, so this is just a "heads up" that I am writing as an autism mom today. I will be back with some new slipcover projects soon!
So, I was sorting through some old files recently, and came across a couple of Myers-Briggs Type Indicator forms that I had filled out some years ago. One indicated that I was an ISTJ and the other, an ISFJ (you can read more about these here). With the benefit of a "few" years of living between then and now, I have figured out I probably land in the ISFJ category most often. It's fun, and can be helpful, to explore personality profiles and try to "peg" ourselves or those around us. However, as we interact with people, it's clear that an individual's personality is richer and more nuanced than just a label.
As many of you may know, our oldest son has autism (I've written more about it here and here). "Autism" probably brings a picture to mind, either a person you know or something you have seen or read, or some other connection. It's a label, but, much like ISFJ does not describe everything about me or necessarily predict how I will behave in a particular circumstance, neither does autism define our son. It might give you some clues, but he is most definitely his own person! A person who has grown so much in this past year, who is fun-loving and stubborn and who can navigate around Google Earth and Google Maps like it's his job!
Today is Autism Awareness Day, and while those for whom autism is a part of daily life will likely tell you that we are plenty aware, it is, nevertheless, a day to think more specifically about what we can do to make a difference for the 1 in 68 who have acquired this label. For my part, I am increasingly reminded that that everyone has a story. I have chosen not to share much of our autism story here in this public space because it's a story that also belongs to our son (and the rest of our family) and I want to respect that. However, in reading and listening to the stories so generously shared by others, whether they are autism stories or not, I have learned that the world is a lot less black-and-white than I once might have niavely imagined. Sometimes, if you pay too much attention to the media/Facebook/random internet stuff, the autism world appears to be very polarized by differences (and really, pick any issue and it's the same). But when I hear the stories of those who live it, I hear variations on a theme, commonalities that go deeper than whatever soapbox we may tend to climb on. I am learning to assume less and listen more.
So, this Autism Awareness Day (and beyond), let's look past labels and soapboxes and and assumptions and listen for the stories as we walk together. You may just find that your world gets a little more colorful!
P.S. These pictures are some scenes from our Spring Break trip to Matagorda Bay, TX.