Tuesday, February 19, 2008

HEARING HER VOICE

It's so funny - I realized that I haven't written a "Kierra" posting in a while. Mostly my entries have been mind-fluff. I mean don't get me wrong - I enjoy writing them, and I like having a humorous side when I write. Life can't always be serious. But lately I haven't been really "down-to-earth" about things rattling around in my mind. Maybe I've been so busy lately, I haven't really let the quiet sink in and let my mind wander round. Yesterday, however, I was able to hear my mind talking to me as I watching my child playing in the playground.

Me and Jarrett took the girls to the park to play. It was a beautiful day with +10 weather! It was like springtime in February!! Snow melting, freshess in the air that you can't help but open up a window and let that sunshine in. So I sat on a bench. Jarrett was pushing Karis on the swing, and she was screaming shrilly on the top of her lungs, "higher daddy higher!" Jenna found a little girl about her age to play with - the two of them running around with pigtails flying out behind them. In all this I scanned the playscapes for Kierra, who I found trying to slide herself up and down this pole, happiest smile on her face. This is a child whose smile could light up anyone's heart. I smile to myself and watch as the sun dances on her hair, giving her this golden halo. I can hear her humming to herself as she often does. I sometimes wonder if this is her way of singing... or is just like a happy reflex; kind of like when a kitten purs? I know it's a happy sound, because I can see the sheer contentment on her face. So lucky to have this feeling. It's a sensation adults seem to lose as responsibilities grow.

Then she picks something off of the ground and puts it in her mouth. I quickly ran over to her, and told her to spit it out - finding that it was only a rock. But then it hits me: my daughter is almost six years old. She doesn't really talk a whole lot outside of the babyish words she's developed in the last year (each one of which I'm terribly thankful for). She does things that are obviously not age-appropriate. And with each passing year, she commands more stares than she used to. People "knowing" now that there is definately something not quite right about my child. And while she is not an embarrassment to me, it still makes me sad. Because the ability for her to live in a life that is veiled is dwindling quickly. It's not about living in denial about the situation though. It's about protecting someone I love. It worries me that I can't always be there to shield her from ignorance. People stare at her, whisper behind our backs. Sometimes I want to lash out and yell at them - to stop making my little girl a source of their conversation. It hurts me because I already see how children avoid her because she's "strange". Birthday party invitations have come home for Jenna, but not for Kierra. Emails asking Jenna over for playdates but never for Kierra to join in the fun. And in spite of it all, Kierra always has her beautiful smile radiating strong. I think she might be stronger than me - my autistic child. These things that weigh heavy on my heart and mind don't seem to hold her down in the least bit. I envy this in her.

It's funny but someone labeled Kierra as a disabled child not too long ago. I understand this term, and I know Kierra is, in fact, disabled. However I still look at that word and think it doesn't belong to Kierra. I have never looked at her autism as a disablity. It's strange because at first I thought it was because I refused to accept it. But now I understand it for being something entirely different. Although other people may see her with the label "disabled" - I refuse to look at her any different than her sisters. Not because I'm pretending there is no difference (there is definately a difference), but because all three of my children are unique. Kierra's autism doesn't make Jenna or Karis more "normal" to me. They are each special in their own little way. Karis is a cuddly little girl, who commands the stage and loves to joke. Jenna is more serious and thoughtful and loves to learn the answers to everything. Kierra is my soulful girl that has more to say about life than she can physically put out there. All I really want in this life is for the world to hear her voice. And while it may mean dealing with people who are to careless to listen; I will always be there to shout to the world for her as long as she needs me to.

No I don't look at my daughter as someone in this world living with a diability. I look at my daughter as someone in this world living. I can only hope other people will take a moment and see this too.

2 comments:

Domestic Accident said...

Elle, that is so beautiful. Perspective is everything, and you clearly look at your journey through the eyes of a caring, unselfish, fantastic mother. Our children teach us so much more than we teach them. Cliche, but true.

Fratzels said...

It soudns like you had a glorious afternoon at the park. It's great when the whole family can go - it gave you time to sit back and reflect on what's important. All of your girls are beautiful and unique. I'm glad you cherish each one for all that they are.

Wonderful post!