It seemed like the news about our daughter spread like the song Grapevine says: “I bet you wonder how I knew...” People heard it through so and so, who was a close friend or family member. “I am so sorry”, “Really? I never thought so”, or “I thought there was something…..” or “Don’t worry it’s going to be okay” were all comments along the grapevine.
In a small way, it was like there was a death in the family. People were waiting in line to offer condolences. I’ve been there- you wait and watch others say their two cents. You wonder if your two cents is worth even that. You try to muster up something to say. Something that might put a band aide on the bad and make it feel better. There is no band aide of words that can make it all better.
The truth is the only one who really told us that all is well is – the one who was the reason for all the sympathies. Our daughter, the one burdened with autism is the one who has given us something stronger than a band aide to make things better. She was the one who truly tells us that all is well. It has been her attitude since she was able to show one. It comes natural to her as flapping her hands when excited. Despite our important discussions about what to do about this or that, and discouraged when such and such happens, her attitude seems to always be- What’s the worry.? All is well!
We know it when we are eating our breakfast and barely moving, when she jumps up and says: “Hey look there’s Chippy Chipmunk!” He’s looking for his breakfast!” We see it when she stands up on stage in front of hundreds of people and sings “Joy to the World.” We’ve heard it recently when she was tired of putting on 5 extra pounds of clothes, wiping her nose for the twentieth time, and wishing desperately for spring and sunshine….she says “Mommy, God gave me a smile.”
There it was. Out of the blue really. Maybe it was out of a script that I don’t know about. Maybe someone told her this. Nonetheless, God gave her a smile. She believes it and lives it. She knows already at the age of 6 ,that the world is at her fingertips despite her autism. She knows that she is more than special. She is amazing because God made her. She knows that her dreams may come true just as sure as Cinderella’s. She believes it. God gave her a smile.
It’s a reminder to me that because she has autism, she knows more about the glories and love of God than I do. No one else I know notices the sunsets, the sparkle of the snow, the really good taste of a pizza slice, or carries the same Christmas morning excitement to see their friends and teachers at school every day. It’s a reminder to me that God’s glory and masterpiece is in fact displayed in her. It’s a reminder to me to look for a smile from God always and forever because my daughter does. She has the joy that only God can give. He gave that same joy to me with a smile but I need to receive it as easily as she does.
“God gave me a smile” she says. That is the truth of the story. I’d better start a new Grapevine.