“Mom, hold out your hand and close your eyes.” Goldi commands.
“Why?” I ask
“Just be still!” she says impatiently.
Goldi ‘s finger tips tickle my palm.
I muster up a meaningful guess.
“Water!’ I said with opened eyes.
“That’s right! ” Goldi says clapping her hands.
Goldi met Helen Keller recently. Movies, books, and pictures have led to many hand spellings and questions.
“How can she spell so fast? Did you know that Alexander Graham Bell was her friend and HE invented the telephone and did she swim in a pool? Goldi asks without pause.
I google for answers.
“Yes, she did go swimming!” I answer. ” She could not see, she could not hear. But she had a real life, an exciting one.
Goldi’s eyes brighten and sparkle as if she could see a once far off dream now within close reach. Now that Goldi has met Helen, autism waits last in line behind them all.
” I want to be on the stage. Or maybe I want to be a puppet lady and do shows for kids. I want to be a teacher or a piano player. ” Goldi peppers out.
” Sounds really exciting.” I say smiling.
For awhile, we were enthralled. Our talk centered on all things Helen. We were captivated with all the things she could do and easily forgot about the two big things she couldn’t. A videos of her talking brought many wows. Google and youtube fed our fascinations. In Goldi’s eyes, the sky was the limit for a really exciting life all because of our hero, Helen.
But then, reading on Google , I found a word. A word nearly synonymous with Helen Keller and even…… Hitler! It was a hateful, awful, sinful word– EUGENIC- it means to improve human population with a superior gene creating a superior human race. It means to wipe out that which is inferior or defective. Helen herself said: allowing a “defective” child to die was simply a “weeding of the human garden that shows a sincere love of true life.” Everything came to a thud.
Helen the hero turned brute! Brute because my autistic child, who flaps when she is excited or nervous, who speaks in echolalia when she is sad or worried, who won’t pet a fluffy kitty cat, who has trouble learning simple addition facts, who to this day can’t survive a drive through a car wash without a scream. My child -who makes a mess while she eats, who speaks loudly and expressively at the crack of dawn, who takes a bit to calm down when wrong has entered her life, my child whose brain works hard to keep up with the rest of the “superiors”, My child is…. not….normal! Therefore according to Helen, my child is “defective” and not worthy of a really exciting life or any life at all! Unbearable! Helen the hero turned villain!
“Mom, I want to see the Helen Keller Movie again!” Goldi requests.
I am tongue tied. A hard rock pressed against my heart. Her innocence only knows Helen as hero.
I bury this dreadful secret and say “Would you play some some music for me instead?”
Goldi willingly bounces into the living room and props herself up at the piano as if ready for a concert performance. She confidently and enthusiastically plays.
For a moment I close my eyes and with faith and hope strain to see a dream for Goldi. She begins playing Happy Birthday. I see her standing in a garden of flowers galore. There are more colors of flowers than in a rainbow. The sun is shining down making Goldi’s hair glow. The flowers are swaying and smiling as Goldi pours a gentle shower on each bloom. A garden of life and Goldi stands in it. Goldi stands up and takes a bow. Her face beams as she looks up. I clap my hands until they itch.
“I did it!” she says. “I can play all the songs in my book!” She proudly announces. In our open living room with good acoustics – perhaps the whole world heard.
“Yes! I say, “That is really exciting!”
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:14
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27