Last night was our big awareness event for The Green Apple Project. Faces of Autism was a room full of gorgeous photographs of beautiful faces. The turn out was amazing – over 200 people.
I wanna talk about support. Knowing when someone has put their heart and passion and time and energy into a single event and showing up to show them you recognize that? That’s support.
Knowing a child (or children) who struggle daily and have a hard time on a regular basis but who finally have an opportunity to celebrate that same part of them – the one that can make things hard – as something that also makes them unique and wonderful, and showing up to say to them, “I recognize that beauty, too.”? That’s support.
The room was (literally) overflowing with support. My friends who have busy lives and families who demand their attention took 2 hours on a Wednesday to come show Jamie and me that they support us. Teachers….SO MANY TEACHERS. There were teachers from almost every school in the valley there to see their kiddos so incredibly proud of their giant photos on display. I had teachers ask for a copy of the video to show, teachers who told me they learned something new, teachers who wanted to get involved and who shared stories of how and why autism is such a part of their lives.
Jamie had a hard time and hindsight is 20/20. I can honestly say I didn’t expect him to panic at the sight of the crowd. He refused to go in and had a bit of a melt down over it. He knew lots of people there but he doesn’t have a ton of close friends or people he feels super comfortable with – and there weren’t really any of those. Luckily my mom is one of those people and she sat with him for two hours in the hall while he tried to escape and finally accepted defeat and played the iPod. It was a really good reminder and an eye opener. For being so “high functioning” he was certainly one of the “lowest functioning” autistic children there last night. The labels should probably go.
But we survived and we’re currently most thankful for this kind of thing:
-people who give selflessly. Who do so without worry or recognition or receiving things in return. Who recognize bigger things than their names or their talent and who know that sometimes just giving is necessary for a beautiful world.
– teachers who love students as if they were their own children. The love in the eyes of so many educators last night was pretty impressive. One of Jamie’s teachers came last night and I wanted to cry and hug her – ya know if I did that kind of thing. I wanted to tell her how much it meant to us she was there. How she makes our lives better and easier and how much Jamie loves her. I did a little bit, but I reeled it in as much as I could.
-friends who see support as such an important part of friendship. Friends recognizing when you have a passion and when your heart has spilled into a cause and showing you they see it and now it’s in their hearts too.
-wine. And food.
Our event is over and my Facebook feed is full of pictures from last night. My heart is pretty full, too.