(This blog originally ran on August 28, 2012.)
August 28, 1963 is an auspicious date in our nation’s history; it is the date of Dr. Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech. This speech challenged us to examine our conscience, not only as a country, but also as individuals, to believe in our dreams no matter how huge the obstacles that stand in front of them.
My interpretation of this speech is that his dream was simply to have everyone be treated equally. In a way that is my dream too. In the past I had heard the speech, and believed I understood the meaning. But I can honestly say that I have never really known the feeling of discrimination. Since my son was diagnosed with autism, I unfortunately have come to know the feeling all too well. It may be unintentional, it may be disguised, but it is discrimination nonetheless.
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I have a dream to simply have my son treated equally. That’s not all, I have other dreams for my son:
I have a dream, that one day my son’s body will heal and he will be healthy.
I have a dream that my son will have friends.
I have a dream that my son will play high school football.
I have a dream that my son will graduate from high school and then college.
I have a dream that my son will be able to live independently.
I battle every day to keep these dreams alive and, in the face of adversity, I refuse to let them go. Some may think I am in denial and that I should move on and accept autism. I stand firm, and I will not relent. I believe that by adhering to my dreams “we shall overcome.”
What makes a speech great? I think it should
- be a voice for those who cannot speak,
- give vision for those who cannot see,
- and inspire those who may have lost their dreams.
I think Dr. King’s speech accomplishes all of those, and I hope that everyone has their dreams come true.
I posed the question to some of my fellow TMRs: “What are some of your dreams for your child with autism?” We all know that health and healing are number one. But what else? Here is what they had to say:
Sunshine: “A Friend. To be able to read at grade level and enjoy reading. To be able to enjoy simple childhood pleasures like going to an ice cream parlor at the shore, or playing a team sport, or just playing in general.”
LuvBug: “For me to have to yell at him to put down the book, turn off the light and go to sleep! Watching him and a friend play together in the ocean. To find the “right” girl and fall in love. To speak at his high school graduation about how the word ‘impossible’ is for small minds, the list goes on and on.”
Goddess: “I keep dreaming that Harry is talking in paragraphs. But my dream is still kindergarten on time with Reagan, his twin sister. And Harry and Noah (the Rev’s little guy) will grow up to make shatterproof iPads.”
Dragon Slayer: “Years ago, when Mei was deep in autism, I dreamed that Mei would fall in love and get married. My dreams are bigger now, I’m hoping for grandkids. Make that HEALTHY grandkids.”
Prima: “I dream that my little guy will have friends who will love him and teach him the power of friendship. I dream that he will be standing one day, at his graduation, giving a speech on never giving up and believing that anything is possible. I dream that I will walk him down the aisle to get married and watch his children grow.”
Money: “I can see it in my mind’s eye. She’s walking near the Phillips Academy library, where she attends school, talking with a group of girlfriends.”
Sugah: “Dare to dream.”
Savage: “I want to have a conversation with my son. A lovely back and forth about anything.”
Saint: “To go to the the big game and out for pizza or whatever afterwards. To be able to do what every other kid takes for granted.”
“And while I can think, while I can talk.
While I can stand, while I can walk.
While I can dream.
Please let my dream come true…
(If I Can Dream, Elvis Presley 1968)
What’s your dream?
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I have a dream…a generation of recovered kids, teaching all who will listen…what freedom really is. What love really is. What health really is. What hope really is.
“The future belongs to those who give the next generation reason for hope.”
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Thank you thinking mom’s for all you do…going above and beyond to share with the world.
I’ve been meaning to post FOREVER.
There is no doubt in my mind that you ladies saved my son from the harmful side effects of vaccination. I have a beautiful 8yo who is quirky and vulnerable. No shots here.
Your tireless work does not go unnoticed. Thank you.
Oh, Becky. Thank you! These are the kind of posts that keep us going!
My dream is to dream again…I just expressed my frustration this week in my fb status… No matter how far he has come. No matter that he has beaten many odds. No matter that he has proven the talking heads wrong. It still gets to me that “The Boy” should be off for his second year of college. I should be having all of the safety talks with him. Autism stole the life he was meant to lead. And it pisses me off.
We get down, and then he does or learns or says something amazing and we dream all over again. Not giving up is my dream. I see him whole. It keeps me going.
Alexander will be there! I cannot wait to be there the day he graduates, he is beyond blessed to have a relentless super mama on his side! You should start planning his party now, I hear they are hard to plan! Busy, very busy! 🙂
Thanks Snap. In between convulsing sobs, I reconnected with the hope and drive to keep trying for recovery. Never easy. I want my son to PLAY. To make a sustained narrative with his toys involving love, betrayal, intrigue, jealousy, competition, victory. To play out the most basic of human passions and conflicts. Maybe in his toy barn or Little People’s house. And then, and this would be icing on the cake, he’ll ask, “Mom, play with me” and I might even roll my eyes, wishing I could get through my to-do list. But I’ll stop. And get down on the floor. And enter his world. I WANT TO ENTER HIS WORLD.
Beautiful, beautiful post Snap. I love this and am full of chills reading it. I am just glad that we all do still dare to dream and have not given up on that yet. Love you.
I have a dream that one day the truth will prevail and others will be spared what our family and more specifically our son has suffered. I have dream of a simple conversation between mother and son. My dream is what most parents take for granted every day of their lives. I say to them….treasure every word.
I have big ones, most of which have already been mentioned. Like I dream of him having friends and going to school and speaking fluently. My small ones are that he swim a 25 yrd freestyle, ride a bike, go to church, be able to wear headphones, be on a team (like for a sport, but not necessarily), smile for pictures, swallow pills, eat food, play wii…..
Love you Snap!! Thank you for this beautiful post. Never stop dreaming because these dreams will all come true, and one day we will be standing together, all of us, celebrating our amazing children’s recovery. Mouah!
I have a dream that all of our children will fall in love, have a life partner/soulmate/spouse and live happily ever after.
I am constantly singing to my 3 yr old non-verbal love bug…trying to connect those places in his brain that understand speech and can make it. My dream is for him to look up at me and say, “Mom, will you please stop singing now?”
OMG SNAP. I am sitting in the airport with Harry enroute to a doctor appt and I am all choked up. I love this piece. I have no doubt Alexander will do everything you’ve dreamed and I bet he’ll fulfil a few of his own too. XOXOX love you.
I dream of my Child Jojo to have exhausting conversations about what he did in school what he wants to be when he grows up and a I love you mom.