We live in a small small community. I mean less than 1500 people live in our community. When we relocated here almost 2 years ago, I will admit that I was concerned for how this small school setting would affect our kids. I grew up in so many different communities I knew that it would either be a fantastic experience or the world will come to an end earth shattering experience. I waited on pins and needles.
I have watched my daughter, Emelie, get her diagnosis’s changed and accurate. I’ve watched her navigate the social awkwardness of being almost 13 added to the Autism conundrum. I’ve wondered how it was going to play out since she wants to be around Christian’s friends and the older kids. That and she doesn’t always understand boundaries wanting to hug all the kids she meets.
Christian participates in the plays and musicals. The kids involved in these productions have become a pretty close knit group and even if they aren’t friends they get along fairly well. Somehow, Emelie has become embraced by them as a surrogate member of the cast. Everyone’s little sister/fan that high fives and hugs them all.
She is their cheerleader. Not just Christian’s little sister cheering him on but cheering each and every one of the cast members on. Telling them all great job and hugging them. Teasing them all equally like a true little sister would. I worried how Christian would be treated for it, and the kids have just taken it all in stride. Not giving Christian grief or complaining to us or him about her.
You haven’t lived until you’ve had the “biggest” fan fly at you with leaping hugs, high fives from out of the blue and a little blonde girl protecting you from your boyfriend/girlfriend and loving on you. You haven’t lived until your sister knows every member of the cast/crew and they know her.
You know you are in a pretty amazing place when they embrace her and love her back. And know it’s pretty fantastic when they look for all the positives in what she does than getting offended by the social faux pas. You know it’s an awesome place when they encourage her to try out for the next production as she will be able too. It’s not just the kids in the plays/musicals either. It’s ALL the kids in our little town.
I have a restored hope in humanity because if these kids are our future, they know that there is more to life than getting offended by every little thing. They get that there is more to people than being politically correct and worried about offending people. They get that sometimes, some of the people around us, are not going to fit into society’s mold and people like Em just need more love and patience.
So to the kids of our little town, I thank you. You are always going to encounter people like Emelie. Just remember the little blonde girl that loved you all so much and treat the people you meet with the same kindness and love as you have her, and you will bring about a change in how Autism is embraced. One person at a time. And I’m so proud of each and every one of our youth in our town because you were touched by Emelie and embraced her as well.