I have received so many comments on here, via email, on Facebook and Twitter; some encouraging, some heart-breaking… But I feel really unsettled by those who say I am amazing. I’m not being modest, I’m just not amazing.
There was a little girl,
And she had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good
She was very, very good,
And when she was bad she was horrid.
This is the first part of a poem by a chap called Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882). My parents often used to say it to me as a child. I loved it.
I loved the idea of being very very good but not half as much as I liked the idea of being so bad I was horrid. Watching Dallas with my Mum (and Dynasty in secret) through my formative years totally sealed that for me; I still feel exactly the same.
When I am good, I am very very good. I love to make people happy. I love to smile and say kind things. I’m a feeder (in a joyful not spiteful way). I love giving compliments absolutely whenever the urge takes me, people don’t say enough nice stuff. I try to live lightly, be moral, be a good neighbour and citizen, and I try to stand up against injustices. But, really, honestly I am not amazing.
There’s a part of me that likes being a little bit horrid: I’m 41 and I still think that farts are really funny. REALLY funny. Whenever I burp I like to burp the word “YES!” with a fist pump or a leg kick. What an excellent role model.
I spend a good portion of my toilet time on the crasser areas of Vine. Sniggering.
If I see someone trip over (as long as they didn’t injure themselves), I am convulsed with such laughter inside that I’m lucky I haven’t yet herniated myself. I LOVE that quick glance left-right-left-behind to estimate how many witnesses. All the witnesses trying to look blasé to spare the tripper any more embarrassment… The universal language of the trip – never gets any less amusing – I feel exactly the same mirth when I trip over and do my own left-right-left-behind check. It’s FUNNY.
And then there’s jumping out and boo’ing people. That’s the best. That never stops being hilarious. Of course, now daughter is around I don’t do that so often – I’m not EVIL – but, oh, how I miss a good boo.
My daughter, as some of you have more rightly said, is amazing.
And not just because she has “the Autism”. It would do us all good to view all children as amazing.
I’m just me. My kid has special needs, I rose to the challenge, the vast majority of parents do and always will. Someone else’s kid is nearer normal, their parenting experience doesn’t have quite the same lows, just genetics and luck of the draw.
I’m perhaps above average at writing stuff (I dunno, I’m still cringing as I mentally picture my journalist friends rolling their eyes and muttering about the Facebook masses’ huge appetite for cats, quizzes, LOLs and crass sentimentality…). And perhaps because I have a special needs daughter – who I love so intensely but some times feel so desperate about – it helped elevate that writing on a particular day…
I feel like it’s more akin to when a passerby lifts a crashed car off a trapped child. An amazing moment happening to someone otherwise normal. We all have that potential.
Last night someone donated £1,000. My family and I were amazed… I was compelled to rush and email my thanks but I stopped. I am slowly saying thanks to everyone in date order. That person gave £1,000 because they could. That’s amazing. But many others have given £2.50 and I can’t help but think that their donations were possibly a very similar percentage of the money they had available. They are also amazing. Everyone deserves thanks… I’ll get through them eventually!!!
It’s easy to be swayed by the big gestures and overlook the tiny ones that are just as important. My husband brings me coffee in bed every morning, EVERY morning. I am still snoring my arse off and he’s rushing to get to work… how amazing is that?
…which leads to my only real piece of advice on How To Be Amazing.
Just wake up every morning determined to do your best and to be happy. Works for me.
I realised when I was researching the author that the poem quoted above has two more verses:
One day she went upstairs,
When her parents, unawares,
In the kitchen were occupied with meals,
And she stood upon her head
In her little trundle-bed,
And then began hooraying with her heels.
Her mother heard the noise,
And she thought it was the boys
A-playing at a combat in the attic;
But when she climbed the stair,
And found Jemima there,
She took and she did spank her most emphatic.
Hmmmmmmm. I wonder if you’re thinking what I’m thinking. #autismawareness