Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Do You Put People First?

I don't often call people on political correctness stuff because I know we all make mistakes and often, we spend our days trying to retrain our brain not to say phrases we've been saying since childhood.


When it comes to intellectual or physical challenges, it's an entirely different ballgame. I'm tired of reading articles, studies and blogs classifying people as their affliction rather than as a person.

Say I want to write a story about a brave young man who has AIDS. I want to tell you about some of the incredible fundraising he does, how he's changed perceptions of AIDS patients and how he's left a mark on the world. Do I call him an AIDS kid? Heck no. He's a boy, a boy who happens to have AIDS.

Or maybe, I want to tell you about the 20-something young man with Down Syndrome I talk to on the bus everyday. Do I call him a Down's kid? Again, heck no. He's a wonderfully entertaining and bright young man who is affected by (or with, depending on your view) Down Syndrome.

Yet everyday, I read stories about this autistic boy or autistic girl. So I ask, why are we labeling him or her as a problem first, then a person?

He or she is a person first, no ifs, ands or buts about it.

My son has autism. My son is affected by autism. He is not autism itself and I will never allow it to come before him.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Homecoming, Birthdays and Thank God It's Over.

We returned home 2 weeks ago, armed with a new lease and a new outlook on life. As long as I've worked with the homeless and at-risk in my community, I never thought it would happen to me.

I learned that you don't care what kind of toothpaste you use when you're grateful to have a sink to wash in.

I learned that sharing a double (and single) bed with my two boys is tough stuff but I was even more grateful that we were together.

I learned that my son with ASD is much more adaptable to change than we thought he was.... he did AMAZING through the entire ordeal.

I learned that my marriage is made up of the strongest material ever.

I learned that my cat, whom I thought was completely ambivelent to my existence, really, really loves me. Like, a lot. She still hangs off of me and follows me around every day now.

And lastly, I learned that during tough times, you find out who really loves you. From the friends I didn't realize were still friends until they offered me a place to live to the people who joked that "being homeless would be better than living in our renovation zone"... you really, really realize who's got your back and who is just a jackass.

*  *  *  *  *  

We came home the night before littlest boy's 5th birthday. Our neighbours stepped up and hosted his first birthday party, blowing up 55 balloons an making the sweetest cake I've ever eaten in my life. 1 week later, we opened our doors and hosted a second birthday party, marking the first "event" we've held in this home. It was intimate and fun and the boys are already excitedly planning the next party.

Apparently the next party is for my birthday next month. No word yet on who's doing the cleaning, cooking or cake making for that one.

*  *  *  *  *

Have I said Thank God it's over yet?

Because I am truly thankful it's done. I'm thankful for my sister, mom and neighbour for opening their homes to our family. I'm thankful for the free legal help offered and the people who brought us food and gave us money for clothes. 

I'm also (extremely) grateful for the new owner of our house and his assistant. They made the situation much more bearable by keeping us informed and topped off the whole ordeal by coming in with a contractor and making a working schedule for all the things that need to be fixed. Let's say hello to a new bathroom, working front door and windows that open/close/don't have cracks!