For years, my family and friends have been telling me that I should write a book. I knew what I would write, yet I resisted their encouragement because raising my son, who was diagnosed with autism in 1996, has consumed so much of my time and thoughts that I wasn't willing to take on another project. Of course, the book I would write would be about raising a child with autism and all we have learned on this journey, in hopes that it might help other parents. My son Alex is now eighteen years old, and I'm still not ready to write that book yet. I keep waiting to discover how things will turn out for my main character.
Lately, Alex has been obsessed with the idea of what his earliest memories are. He has watched videotapes of his childhood, has poured over the hundreds of photos we took of him as a child, and has asked us repeatedly on a daily basis about how far back he can remember. All the while, he carries around a picture of himself at age four. He tells us that he remembers in April 1996, when he was four years old, he got a clock at Kmart. For most children, this would be insignificant, but for Alex, who uses numbers and measuring devices to make sense of the world in terms of time, dates, temperatures, stock market statistics, and even the hundreds of irrational pi digits he has memorized, this seems a fitting first memory.
During this recent search for Alex's younger self, he has enjoyed hearing stories about when he was very young because they help him reconstruct a time he cannot remember. Now I realize how important it is to write his history, if for no one but Alex, so that he can see how far he has come. For those who wanted me to write a book, this blog is as close as I can get to that right now. I'm busy remembering for Alex, so that he can piece together his life experiences so far.
"So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." Psalm 90:12