Special Sharing ~2010

I had a special needs niece who passed away two years ago. She was supposed to live another 10-15 years but left us early. There is not one day that  I don't miss her terribly. She was the original genius with her compassion. We'd go to the grocery store and if a baby was crying, she was beside herself with concern.

"That baby is crying, Aunt Sis"

"Somebody needs to hold him...he's just a baby"

And she would leave my side to hunt down that crying baby......and then lecture the parent about how a crying baby just needs to be loved. We would get glares from those parents of crying babies in the grocery. But there was no way to stop Sarah from her mission of compassion. She was 16 years old and 250 lbs worth of obstinate decency due to a defect of chromosome called Hypothomia...an extra half chromosome just like Autism. I miss her so much.

As I told you, I also have two special nephews with an extra half chromosome labeled as Autism. One guy is like your daughter, it's not easy for him but he's doing a good job and we're all very proud of him. The other guy didn't really talk until he was 12 years old. He still won't feed himself or hold any implement of any kind. He's 26 years old today.

Twenty years ago when he was only five years old, he came to my home during a family Thanksgiving celebration. The kid was fascinated with fire. It was scary to build a campfire because he was always putting his face into the flame, trying to smell it. While at my house that day he happened to pass by my old gas furnace when the pilot light came on. He immediately began snapping his fingers...screaming - Fire! Fire! Everyone at my house became annoyed with Josh's constant fascination of the flame in my old gas furnace, so I took him outside.

I pointed to the street and explained that there was a pipe of gas under the pavement. I told him that the pipe went under the driveway and I showed him the meter. Then I showed him the pipe in my garage ceiling and we traced it to the old blue gas furnace. I explained that the gas made the flame and heated the house. Then I pointed out the duct work in the ceiling of my basement.

Josh spent the rest of the day standing in front of my old blue gas furnace, snapping his fingers and waiting for the flame. As soon as the pilot light came on he ran upstairs and found a heater vent where stood over it and giggled while he snapped his fingers wildly. Everyone in my house became amused by his excitement over the flame in my old blue gas furnace.

Six months later Josh came visiting my home again and immediately started asking about my old blue gas furnace. Remember, this kid didn't speak in full sentences. He wouldn't hold any implement of any kind. But my sister could hold a pen to the paper and he would steer her hand around.

Josh drew a complete schematic of the whole heating system for my house.  It was so accurate I had to go back and check. He even included the hot water tank and I don't remember showing him that. He was only five years old.

Is it genius or retardation? Somewhere there is a gray area separating the two. We are greatful every day to have Josh teach us these things.

And have learned through Sarah how to be unreasonably compassionate.

And glad for Addison to prove that life isn't easy for everyone.

Just sharing one more truth that I've witnessed,

Dawn