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Monday, January 30, 2012

Craziness thrust upon me

Thinking back on my life, I can see a theme. I don't like to stand out, to shake the boat, to do things that aren't what is expected of me. I don't think anyone made me this way. I think it's just how I'm wired. I don't like to be the center of attention. I hate the thought of someone saying about me "Wow, I can't believe she did that!" I don't want to disappoint people. I was thinking about the summer of my sophomore year at college. I had a summer job I really, really liked, as a newspaper clipper, reading newspapers and marking articles that clients wanted to get---like if the newspaper mentioned Reader's Digest, you marked it with a code, and it got cut out and sent to Reader's Digest. It crossed my mind that summer that I wished I could take a few years off from college and just work that job. College wasn't especially inspiring to me, and I liked the idea of working and making money. But I never once thought about it seriously. It just didn't occur to me I could actually do that---that I could decide to take a different path, one that some people might disapprove of.

This weekend, I had a bit of a revelation in my mind. Although I've spent my whole life avoiding standing out, looking crazy, being unexpected, craziness has been thrust upon me. Life with Janey is crazy. If I go into a store with her, people are going to look at us, because she will be making odd noises, jumping up and down, acting in ways you don't expect a normal looking 7 year old girl to act. I'm not going to follow the expected path with her. We won't be preparing for college, or anticipating her dating. We will be hoping she's someday completely toilet trained, and that she can someday be alone in a room without disaster. Whenever I take her to a new doctor, or a new dentist, or a new anything, I am going to have to give the short speech I give "She is autistic and won't understand a lot of what you are saying, or answer what you ask". Right away, I'm outside the norm. Crazy isn't the completely right word, but it's what I am picking here. I've had the crazy life thrust upon me.

And, it occured to me, that's a little freeing. It struck me I can PICK to be crazy, in cases where that will make me happy, or us as a family happy. We are already not following the groove, so we can do things we want to do without much more standing out. For example, although reasonable people might all agree one cat is fine, or at the most two, if we choose, as we have, to keep all four of our kittens that the stray we took in had, well, they make us extremely happy. It's craziness, but I have chosen it. If craziness is going to be thrust upon me, and I don't get to choose it, then I have decided that means that I can also pick to be a little crazy sometimes, if it doesn't hurt anyone and makes our family happy. We are never going to be your typical family any more. So we might as well make it an enjoyable ride along the way.

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