It really does take a village

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As some of you may know my youngest son is autistic. He was only three-years-old when diagnosed and I can still remember the day as if it were yesterday. I felt as if I were thrown from a ship in the middle of an ocean. I was shocked and terrified, but most of all I was sad. That was fifteen years ago and my son is now eighteen.

I’m sure you’ve all heard the African proverb ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ it was also the title of a book written by Hilary Rodham Clinton. Well, it definitely took a village to raise my son and not just one… but three!

When he was ten we moved from Norway to Houston and lived there for two years. From Houston we moved to the Netherlands, where we lived for three years before returning home to Norway. Over the last fifteen years teachers, assistants, caseworkers, specialists, neighbors, friends and Β family in three different countries have helped and taught both me and my son. It hasn’t been easy and I’m tremendously thankful to each and every one of these people!

If you look Autism up in the dictionary it says… A mental condition, present from early childhood, characterized by great difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people and in using language and abstract concepts.Β 

This is not incorrect, but it is a very general definition because autistics are not all alike. For example, my son can communicate in two languages, Norwegian and English. He’s never met a video game he couldn’t beat and he’s learning to play the Bagpipes online! Yes, my son is autistic, but he’s also unique and I wouldn’t change one thing about him, even if I could.

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About maggiemyklebust

I grew up on the Jersey Shore and now live in Norway. I have also lived in Houston and the Netherlands. I have written a memoir called Fly Away Home.

Posted on March 31, 2013, in Family stuff and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. Great post Maggie and the bagpipes?

  2. I know, how he got interested in the bagpipes is a mystery to me… But he’s obsessed. We’re even going to Glasgow for a whole week this summer so he can study at the National Piping Centre!

  3. You must look back and think how far you’ve all come. πŸ™‚ Isn’t it nice to know you’ve got a good support network? πŸ™‚

    Can’t wait for your visit, so exciting! πŸ™‚ I actually really enjoy the bagpipes! πŸ™‚

    • Yes, we’ve been lucky and my son has really benefited from all the support. I’m not sure how he ended up so keen on playing the bagpipes, but he is and now I’ll get to meet you and enjoy a good brew πŸ™‚

  4. The world benefits from people who see things a little differently for that much needed injection of creative variety and focus. Think of all the people who’d like to learn the bagpipes and never have! Good on him, I say πŸ™‚

  5. How blessed he is to have you and vice versa! I love bagpipes. That is so awesomeβ™₯

  6. I love the bagpipes! You’ve done very well, Maggie. My nephew is autistic and my sister has worked so hard to make his life as normal as possible. He has held down a job in Woolworth’s now for about five years and we’re all so proud of him. It does take a village to raise a child, but it also takes a caring, determined and loving family just like yours and mine πŸ˜€

    • Have you heard of Jenny McCarthy (actress/writer)? She has an autistic son and wrote in one of her books… ‘Every mother raising an autistic child gets a free pass into heaven.’ I’m hoping she’s right.
      Thanks for your kind words, I really appreciate it πŸ™‚

  7. You gave me goosebumps. Hugs to you and your son.

  8. itsallaboutpurple

    you are right maggie, it is very different for everyone!! sounds to me like you’ve been an amazing mom!!

  9. Profound, moving, joyful and life-affirming. I always come away refreshed by the way you look at life. BTW, my son is a bagpiper. He just decided one day that he should play the bagpipes. I have no idea how and why- it just happened. I have a feeling the bagpipes choose the player. Have fun in Glasgow.

  10. anna told me you were a scrapper. i wish we lived “a lil” closer!!

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