Friday, December 03, 2004

in defense of Arolf

Yesterday, Augee, Keiko, Roland and I talked about autism.

I was browsing the net for some Autism Awareness stuff that I'd like to have.
I found this gorgeous bracelet. Well, it was gorgeous for my taste.

There were a lot of items that I wanted, but of course,
they were all in the States!!!!
And if you convert them to PHP, ay nakow!

So there I was...

Roland asked me why i was doing so (in a manner that I won't describe here).

And I looked at him... and saw that he didn't know yet. Oh, so that's why...

I told him that Arolf has autism. He didn't know.

I told him that was why when he teases everyone in the pantry
that they were like autistic, Carlo told him "Huy, ano ba yan?!"
and he looks at me apologetically, with a 'forgive them' look.

And I always go, 'it's ok.'

Roland looked shameful. hehe.

So, I had to tell Arolf's story again. i don't mind.
I like to share it for people to understand what Autism really is,
eventhough the pain comes rushing back.

The thought of my son living normally when he grows up...
the thought of him going to college....
seems elusive at this point in time.
but, slowly it comes to me in my dreams.
Especially when his teacher tells me good things....

When you see him today, you won't even notice it.
People who had spent time with children like him
are the only ones who can see it.

Having Arolf was one of the most wonderful moments of my life.
He had pneumonia when he was born.
I was in the operating room for 4 hours then.
I woke up in pain since the anesthesia was wearing off already.

I saw not my doctor, but another one stitching me back together.
My doctor came rushing in then.
She said, she was sorry she needed to see my son.
That I need not worry. He will be fine.

I didn't know what to think. I was only admitted to a public hospital,
and in a ward. When I was there, I saw all the other mothers
there with their babies. I was the only one who doesn't
have my baby by my side. Tears came.

My family were all so quiet, I couldn't stand it.
I asked them where my baby was.
And they said, 'the doctor said he'll be fine.'

I asked Ronald if he saw our baby yet. He was looking at nowhere
and just shook his head no. Day by day, I asked him if he saw
our baby yet, and he shook his head no.

I was frustrated at why nobody can tell me what went wrong!

And then he told me.

He lied to me. He was the one who took our baby for x-ray.
He said he fits perfectly in the palm of his hand.
He was that small.

My mom told me later on that Dada was crying when he saw
our baby and was questioning why... with all the parents there,
a lot of them poor... why do they have healthy babies?
Achie ate good food, she took vitamins... why?

My mother didn't have the heart to tell him that because
he gave me much heartache when i was conceiving.

When I saw Arolf for the first time, I wanted to cry.
He was so thin! He had traces of tape on his cheek.
I didn't see him when there were tubes in his nose.

When I saw him, I thought...
he was the most beautiful baby in the whole world.
There was a certain glow around him that i couldn't explain.

Now I could.
Because God gave me an angel for a baby.

I took him home on Christmas Eve...
I had one perfect Christmas.


When his autism was more evident, a lot of people would stare at him....
I stare at them back and tried to guess what they were thinking.

I guessed they were thinking...

why is this child staring at the sky and humming an unfamiliar song?
why is this child mumbling foreign words?
why is this child walking around in circles?
why is this child gesturing his hands like that?

The most hurtful thought: The child is mentally disturbed.

Before, I just pitied Arolf. Now, I took stand.

Once, there was a super mean coñotic brat about 17-20 years old
in the ladies room. Arolf came with me, of course.
I think he was about 4 years old then.

While we were waiting for our turn, Arolf looked down under the door.
I told him that was bad, and asked him not to do it again.

When the brat came out we went in and I helped Arolf pee.
When we came out, I stopped to comb my hair...
brat was still there powdering her nose,
but she stopped in mid-air and said:

'Teach your kid not to be bastos.' and all that crap.

If it happened way back, I would just say sorry and go on our way.

That time, I turned bitchy and defended my son.

I said...

'Oh, I'm sorry if you think that my son is bastos.
I think you heard me teach him not to do it again.
He has Autism, that's why he really doesn't understand manners that much.'


'Anyway, what's yours?' i asked.

'what's my what?'

'If my son has autism that's why you think he's ill-mannered,
what's your excuse for being one, too?'

dumbfounded look.

i nod my head. 'that's what i thought.'

And we walked away from the stupid bitch feeling
gloriously happy in a movie-like slowmotion with
the Bittersweet Symphony playing in the background.


I know that I will go to the ends of the earth
defending my son as long as he needs me to do it for him.
I know later on that he will find a way to do it on his own.
I know he will be okay. 'Coz I will be with him all the way.


What is autism? Find it here.

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