Voices of Autism: ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Sobbing’
Every day throughout April–Autism Awareness Month–we will be featuring a different reader-submitted story about living with autism. Today’s story was written by F. Lewis Stark (a pen name), father of Griffin, 13, and author of the blog www.bigdaddyautism.com:
As I type this, Griffin, peeks over my shoulder with an ear to ear grin plastered on his freckled face. As he contorts his neck to get a better look, he excitedly asks me if I’m writing about him. Actually I’m writing about the power of acceptance.
Griffin, my 13-year-old son, is autistic. I could sugar coat it by saying he is merely developmentally challenged or gifted. But the truth is, no matter what label we use, Griffin is significantly disabled by this perplexing disorder. Autism is a huge part of our lives.
Through his toothy smile, Griffin says, “Daddy. I dream last night!”
This gets my attention. It wasn’t until recently that we even knew if Griffin dreamed. We suspected it. However, he never told us he did. It was still a rarity for him to talk about it. So I press the subject by nonchalantly asking, “Oh yeah? What did you dream about last night?”
Without hesitation he blurts, “Last night I dreamed Barney was at the Weather Channel talking about severe weather alerts in the Northeast! Do you believe that?!?”
Yes I do. It may be odd that my son dreams about an imaginary, purple dinosaur broadcasting storm alerts. But this is my life. In spite of the fact that it is not always easy, life with Griffin is, humorously bizarre. We believe the only way to approach it is to kick back and enjoy the show.
Griffin loves elevators and the Weather Channel. He has embraced these simple pleasures with the same passion some kids reserve for their favorite sports teams.
Griffin’s infatuation with the weather started after Hurricane Wilma blew through Florida. His fear of thunderstorms has been incredible ever since. Desperate for anything to ease his anxiety, we thought if he could see weather reports and know what’s coming, his angst would be somewhat allayed. So we introduced him to The Weather Channel. It wasn’t long before Griffin became a weather junkie.
While being constantly tuned into the weather has done nothing for his trepidation of thunderstorms, it did give him something to talk to his family about. Obsessively.
During one recent squall, Griffin hunkered down in the closet and sobbed about how much he wanted to be a storm chaser. When his mom calmly explained that storm chasers don’t hide in the closet when it drizzles, he nearly vomited. Since crying so hard that it makes you puke isn’t what the Weather Channel is looking for in on-air personalities, our plan for Griffin becoming the next Al Roker is a long shot.
In a way, being told your child is disabled is a death. A death of what you had planned for your life. Griffin has taught us that getting too attached to having things go as you planned, is a recipe for disappointment. By accepting that we have little control over our futures, we spend more time living in, and enjoying, the present. Even when it rains.Add a Comment