When I was a wee bitch, I used to pray and ask God to make my older brother “normal”. For the longest time I was convinced that the reason God had yet to answer my prayer and “cure” my brother’s autism had to do with my inability to be a perfectly behaved sin-less little girl.
I woke up one day…just a random day…knowing with absolute conviction that my prayer wasn’t being rejected.
I just knew that my brother was as he should be…a different kind of normal.
I got it…
…and we were cool.
A different kind of normal has meant different kinds of communication.
I couldn’t just pick up the phone and have a conversation with my brother. I’d call and talk…he’d respond with a whispered word or two when prompted…but we never chatted.
I eventually stopped trying because the attempts were more about me than him…more about my preference than his…more about my trying to have my brother bend than meeting him where he was.
Fast-forward to the now.
Earlier this week I had my first telephone-esque conversation with my brother…via Skype.
I logged in from a conference room at work.
Bill was assisted from his day program and used his iPad.
It was a reverse of the scene from The Miracle Worker where Helen Keller signed w-a-t-e-r, because I was the one connecting the dots for the first time.
As his face filled the screen, I was the one learning.
He smiled and waved hello.
And then we communicated.
About his day so far.
About how he liked his apple snack, but didn’t want to go out on the community visit later that day…but he sure would LOVE some pizza, just in case I had the power to make that happen.
Then he touched his fingertips to the screen, as if he were touching my cheek…softly humming a little tune… just like he does when we are face-to-face, but this time with a look in his eye that said “you get it now, sis…we’re cool.”
I get it.