Monday, September 27, 2010

JENKS not Jinx

A few people had mentioned it to me, and then I was strolling through the living room and noticed NPayne watching it; so I stopped to check it out. Before I knew it, I was sitting down with NPayne and Drew; and we were completely engrossed in it. "The World of Jenks" what I'm referring to. It's a reality show on MTV, where 24 year old, Andrew Jenks spends a week with someone who he is trying to understand, get a better feel for, see how their life experiences are, live their life. Jenks is a documentary film maker and from what I could tell....a very genuinely nice guy. The reason we were so engrossed in this particular episode was because of who Jenks was spending the week with....Chad....a 20 year old young man with Autism. As NPayne, Drew and I sat and watched that show....a whole new realm of emotions was stirred inside of me. It was sort of.....well....odd! I have to admit watching Chad and his parents and the love they have for each other was so refreshing and wonderful to me, but it was also so very sad to hear Chad's dad say that their family doesn't think they are "doing a good job" raising Chad. I have a son who has autism, and we have known this and lived with this for about 8 years; and until you experience it.....nobody should tell you if you are or are not "doing a good job". Watching that 20 year old with autism....who was SO MUCH like my son....except for the use of profanity....thank goodness. was so very emotional. Watching Chad and his behaviors, fears, routines, brilliance, and listening to his phrases, fears, that little boy voice coming out of that grown up man....was so bittersweet! I loved seeing how he grew to love Jenks and how their relationship was so pure and raw and honest, but I have to admit that it was hard to think about my boy being 20 and still facing the same fears he has had his whole little boy life. As you grow, you overcome some of your least most typical people do....I think....don't they? I know I did....maybe not all of them but definitely some! I think that is one of the hardest and easiest things about having a child with autism.....the not knowing or knowing what to expect. For my girls, I just sort of assume a few things about their lives....which maybe I shouldn't and of course could be completely inaccurate assumptions. I assume they will go to college. I assume they will get married. I assume they will all become mothers. I assume they will be successful in whatever they do....whether it be working outside of the home or not or both. But for Cal, I really don't assume much....except that he is my sweet boy; and I will always love him. Honestly I have NO idea what lies ahead for him. A few years ago, I would have NEVER guessed or even began to fathom that he is doing some of the things he is doing now.....riding to school in the car instead of on the bus, because the transition was easier on the himself a bath....dressing himself....eating out at more than one restaurant....sitting through the entire church service every Sunday....making friends....playing baseball in our front yard....asking for a hair cut.....eating all sorts of new foods, since he started middle school like cheese pizza, chicken nuggets with ketchup, pb&j, cupcakes, ice cream AND.....the newest food he prepared and tried last Friday at school was.....

Ms. Blackstock....Cal's amazing teacher!

If you didn't get to see "The World of Jenks" where Jenks spends the week with Chad, I urge you to watch it on demand if you are able. It left me sobbing and sad and happy, but all in was AMAZING!

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