Whenever I think of autism awareness, I feel both joy and sadness. On the one hand, I love that there are so things and people that do raise awareness for autism, but on the other hand, it upsets me that we still need to raise so much awareness. I pray for and dream about a day when everyone will be embraced for exactly who we are, no matter how different they may seem to some.
My son, Marky, teaches me so many beautiful lessons on a daily basis. I hold onto those gifts so tightly, and am so grateful for the simplicity he can exist with. He helps me, which helps me help others. He has seven qualities in particular that I wish I had, too — qualities that would give everyone a little more love and happiness.
- His exceptional memory. Marky can tell us how many movies he's seen over the last nine years. He can tell us the date of things we did years ago, and he can give you directions to a place he's been to only once. His ability to recall information is amazing. The attention to detail and accuracy are skills that so many would benefit from in their daily lives. Most days, I can't recall what I had for breakfast, and almost always get lost without a GPS!
- His inability to lie. Marky speaks his truth! You may not want to know that your breath smells or that he threw his dinner away, but he's going to let you know. Many times, you won't even have to ask. He doesn't know what a lie is. Can you imagine living life only speaking the truth?
- He's not embarrassed. Marky will break out in a dance in a store, ask someone he doesn't know a question about the game they're playing, or walk to the front of the line at a bathroom (because he HAS to go) without ever wondering what people think about him. He doesn't give thought to being judged, and never judges others. He lives his life with no inhibitions. I realise that there are situations where this may not be a good thing, but for the most part, it's refreshingly wonderful.
- His attention to detail and order. He has routines for everything he does, and always does them without being asked. Once he knows what's expected, he knows what to do. Whether it be showering before school, studying for his spelling test, or cleaning up after dinner — it gets done. I don't need to ask where something is, he knows. Of my three kids, he's the one that requires the least help getting ready.
- He's happy. Kindness is his way. He does almost everything with a smile, and finds joy in it all. School is always "great," new adventures are exciting, and he's so happy and content with what he already has, he's rarely asking for more. And when one of us is sad or angry, Marky tells us we're being silly. He doesn't like to see others around him upset. He knows other emotions, but prefers to be happy.
- He could ride rollercoasters all day, every day. The more spins, loops, and drops, the better! He has no fear.
- He's so logical. Things are very black and white with him, so you always know where you stand. And he makes decisions based on what he knows to be true without overthinking it. I would love to be able to do that.
Life brings Marky joy. His enthusiasm and happiness are contagious, and everyone who knows him can't help but smile when he's around. The gifts he shares, the lessons he teaches, and the love he gives are my reasons to work every day to be a better person.
Editor's Note: This piece was written by a POPSUGAR contributor. Interested in joining our POPSUGAR Voices network of contributors from around the globe? Click here.