i am SO exceptionally lucky to love my job as much as i do.
there is something about autistic kids, that i just insta-love and connect with.
i'm sure it has a lot to do with bekah, who i love SO much. when i moved back home last year, after derek and i separated, i was determined to become best friends with her. she and i were decently close at that point, but not anywhere near how we are now. a relationship with an autistic sibling is complicated. i still remember perfectly the day i found out she had autism. in my ten year old brain, it made her stranger. i didn't know how to deal with her tantrums, how she climbed EVERYTHING and ran everywhere, how she'd pick up ANYTHING off of the floor and eat it, etc. in my pre-teen to early teen years i bounced between grudging acceptance and resentment. she "cramped our lifestyle" in my fourteen year old head. family vacations that were once easy were now an ordeal. when she did something weird in public, i was embarrassed, etc.
then in my late teens until now...i grew to love and appreciate her more than anything. while other people brought pain and sorrow to me somehow, she NEVER did. she was almost ALWAYS happy and trying to put a smile on your face. she was fun, and hilarious, and when i got married i had her in a bridesmaid dress with my other sister. i thought i loved her then.
and then i got my first job as a paraeducator, got sick and moved home and my appreciation of her grew more and more. i loved the kids i worked with, any way they reminded me of her made me happy. it made me appreciate her more and more. when i was sick, she loved to make me laugh and smile. we'd go on drives when those were the only outings i felt up to. we love all of the same kind of music (except for saturday's warrior :P) and we have the same sense of humor. when we go on drives, i talk to her and i know she cares about me and what i say, even if she doesn't fully understand all of it. my connection with bekah is one of the things i'm most proud of in my life. and it has helped me to find a job i love so SO much. before i worked as a para, i didn't really get along with kids much and i sort of avoided them. but kids with autism and other special needs have always been different somehow, and i connect with them really well. i know it has a lot to do with bekah.
i have been so blessed to have her in my life and family. it hasn't always been easy. there's still times it isn't. there used to be a time when i wanted her to be "normal". now i wouldn't change her for the world. she has been such a huge blessing in my family to lighten the load and to bring joy to us all with her loving, cute and hilarious personality. she is one of my best friends.
i'm so lucky to have her in my life, and EVERY kid i've worked with. they've made me better.