Hot Damn. I was watching a news report on a 40 year old autistic man in Singapore, and holy shit his parents are good people. They were honest about their struggles, but found good in every situation. They found it positive, saw their boy as beautiful, caring, loving. The father even said it was a blessing to have him at his age. A profound thought. A recognition that at a younger age it was no doubt a challenge, but that in the end there is a silver lining of sorts. But more than that, their son is loved, is found worthwhile, and is human- human in that all children are challenges in their own way, some more, some less, but in the end all can have worth to the family. 

Shit, someone must have been chopping onions, I was tearing up at the end. How wonderful that fate gave a difficult child to such good people. Now I don’t know them, they could be far from how they presented themselves, but they sure looked like the real deal. The way the mother spoke so candidly, and the father, in his brief sentences, so lovingly. I hate to imply, much less say, that any human, any couple, any mother or father should be burdened unduly. Life is a burden in the best of circumstances, but if any one must carry a heavier load, I’m glad it fell upon those with shoulders broad enough to withstand the weight. 

I know that all parents of austic kids don’t get happy endings. I know that that condition is a broad spectrum and that guy is probably fairly moderate. The severe cases are a complete other story, as would be the mild. I hope, though, those parents are far more like the average parent of such a child than what I fear might be the case, particularly in places that don’t have the facilities to educate them- though Singapore absolutely does. 

I remember when I was young the weird kids were picked on but the autistic kids were understood. Even in the cruelest of situations, they got a pass, and rightfully so. I’m glad I witnessed that, and proud that even at our shittiest, we the teenage hyenas knew they were off limits. I saw even better treatment in Thailand. I had a kid in my homeroom that had something, we guessed autism, but none of us were experts. The other students, and the teachers writ large too, made sure this kid was taken care of. I was really heartened by this, and I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t give some kids participation points on their grades to make sure they were rewarded for their kindness. 

In the face of so much trouble in the world, I often feel so small, so powerless to change anything. To see the effects these parents had, those students had on just one life, is inspiring. We can’t all be heroes, but we can all be human and find within our humanity compassion and empathy. That costs us all nothing, and the benefits reaped are magnificent. 

But shit, it’s been awhile since a five minute news story has left me in tears, but I’m happy to have shed them. I hope ten thousand happinesses to those people, and I hope at their age I can be held up to their stature and stand tall. 

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