There are a couple of people in my life who I very much respect and care for, who have recently shared with me that we choose who our parents are before we are born. While this is not a concept that I have had previous exposure to (that I can recall during this lifetime), and while I have no recollection of having made the aforementioned choice, I found it intriguing enough to spend some effort reflecting upon that decision.
At first it seemed interesting to me that I, a person who can only describe herself as being big-hearted and obsessed with love, would be born to parents who raised me through a childhood I recall as being pretty much devoid of love. But recently I have wondered if that, in fact, WAS the reason.
While we cannot tell what is in the hearts of others, and by all appearances I would seem to have failed miserably – perhaps my reason for choosing the parents I did was the hope that I could show THEM the love that they apparently were missing. Throughout my childhood, my biggest wish was “to be successful at being a person” – which to me has always meant, really, to be successful at loving – to be successful at having those around me, those who I love, FEEL loved.
While, of course, I have struggled throughout my life with dealing with the issues plaguing my own psyche, including those brought about or compounded by being autistic, my hope remains to share love, and to be successful at loving. My husband and daughter may each have their own take on my success in that regard, although my heart certainly loves them deeply – however, just as I myself do, we each look for the outward expressions that will satisfy our own particular needs.
This is where being autistic has always felt like a major disadvantage – in the difficulties in understanding and reading those needs. As I grow and mature (albeit perhaps late in life), I have the hope that those skills are in fact growing, though I feel well behind the curve in that regard. But the love in my heart is deep and real, so again, the hope of sharing that love is my biggest dream. Whether or not my parents look at me (from up or down or sideways or wherever they might be observing me from) and realize now that the things I wanted to accomplish in my life may be just as important as the accomplishments that in their eyes I should have achieved, I will not know in this lifetime. But I do know that the direction I feel I have been headed in the past couple of years is much more to my own liking – and wish only that I had been strong enough to make that determination years ago.
To my mother and father, my belief is that the love of our fellow man is God’s biggest manifestation in our lives of His love. And I know that though I have struggled throughout my life to see that manifestation directed to me, I do believe (though perhaps awkwardly) that I have always seen it manifested THROUGH me to all of those I care for. And perhaps that is what I am here for. Awkward love, clumsy love and all, love is love, and that is what I do.