I stumbled upon a story written by a mother of a 3 year old autistic daughter named Kate and instantly understood what she was telling about. Not needing to explain or apologize, not needing to repress active children, seeing your daughter/son express her take on the world for someone not from the inner circle around the children.
I suggest you read her post here: http://www.goteamkate.com/1/archives/01-2014/1.html
This is one of the main reasons we travel halfway around the world to Thailand for some vacation. The people over there is so in love with children that the special qualities of autistic children is nothing more than a spice for them.
It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.
- Eleanor Roosevelt
Up here where we live, close to a longitude of 60° north, we have just passed the shortest days of the year and the lack of snow don’t make it any better. We have around 5h 40min of daylight each day at the moment. The lack of daylight is a small problem when it comes to normal geocaching and a flashlight is needed even to find the simple traffic-sign caches. The darkness is also an obstacle for geocachers that wishes to place new geocaches during this time of the year so some creativeness has been used when placing a few of the caches my son and I visited a few days ago.
This cache was made by hanging reflecting Christmas gifts to mark a path through a pitch black forest.
Another cache that we visited had no marked path but once close to it there was no way to miss it as it even had its own light powered by solar cells and batteries.
Caches like these make it easier to accept the lack of daylight. Looking forward to our Thailand trip in February and my Las Vegas trip in May or my Boston trip in June also helps with the winter. I think I need to start looking for caches at those locations just to create a bit of sunshine in my mind.
Below are a few pictures from when my son and I visited my parents a few weeks ago. There is something missing in these pictures, can you see what is missing? Snow! There is no snow in the pictures! Rain and fog but no snow. I admit it was easier to find the geocache than if there had been snow but stil, this is not a real Winter.
Mid December. Rain 10 degrees warm and rain.
Normally we have around ½ m (2’) of snow and -5 to -15 degrees C at this time of the year but this year we have green grass and 5 to 10 degrees warm. Even if snow makes some geocaches harder it also makes some walks in the woods easier when the ground is frozen solid. The snow also helps lighten up the dark winter.
It’s allowed to be sad. Sometimes it’s necessary to not be heroic or a beacon in the darkness. I think that living with autism close by can be a hate-love relationship and suppressing sadness will in end tear down the joy.
Take a moment to reflect over what could have been and then put those thoughts away again for the next year or so. If you are the least like me you will probably find strength and beauty in the darkest thoughts to help you focus on the extraordinary circumstances you have been blessed with and the wonderful souls that needs you.
I know I haven’t updated this blog in a long time, and I’m sorry for that, but I won’t feel guilty. The reason I have been absent is mainly studies. I have been studying at university half-time, working full-time and prepared for a forensics certification on my free time since this summer.
Now my university studies for this semester are completed and my certification is halfway done. There has been times when I’ve thought that I won’t meet the requirements for the certification (which , in my opinion, compared to other certifications is quite hard) I’m now starting to believe that I actually got what it takes to hold a CCE certification. Finally the boss at my work decided to give me a double rise of my salary, mainly because of the effort I put in to create a smooth and competent Incident Response Team.
So, now that you understand that I’ve been busy you probably wonder what this has with autism to do. Well, in my head it has lots of connections to my children and our life. I won’t lie and say it’s never hard to be parent of autistic children but in my opinion one gains much more than one loses. My gain is the experience that hard times are best fought through with discipline and elbow grease, only those who give up, or surrender the control to others lose. I also have learnt to focus on my goals, not on where I am at the moment.
My son has, just by existing, helped me sit late at nights and convert thousands and again thousands of hexadecimal bytes into files, to learn file signatures, to identify how different file systems stores data. He has helped me with my programing skills and I’m today programing C++, C# and Python with ease, and he has motivated me to continue to expand my knowledge with full time university studies next term on top of my work.
The reason is, how strange it may sound, my children’s future. I want to, try to become one of the better in my area of expertise. I wish to be able to pick my future workplaces with my son’s best in mind. Perhaps leave this cold winter, perhaps earn enough money to hire a full-time assistance at home as he grows older and needs more help.
I might be in doubt, and this might be my way to keep my head high, but I think that as long as I do my best I have no reason to feel guilt.
Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first September was crisp and golden as an apple…
- J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
The fall is here. No question about it. We still have around 20 °C (68 °F) in the days but the temperature quickly falls when the sun set and at the time I get up in the morning the temperature is down at 5-8 °C (41-46 °F). The fact that the sun is traveling the skies in a lower and lower orbit and the hint of gold and blood in the maple leafs is other telltale signs.
Another sign is the migrating species. Today me and my son went for some geocaching close to my work (free parking is always nice) but had to abandon the idea quickly once we got there. One of the migrating species that spends the winter here had returned in large herds and there was no way one could sneak past them. Noisy as seagulls, littering as a magpie and as lost as a duck in a shopping mall. I’m sure you have guess the species by know. The students are back in town, and as all years first week is full of “get to know each others”-games and drinking. Well, I’m glad they are back because without them I wouldn’t have the job I have, lets hope they behave this semester so I get a nice and relaxed fall at work.
We left them alone with their rituals, the cache can wait another week and went for another a few km away instead.
Child of time.
That was a favorite expression of Carolus Linnaeus (Carl von Linne) he used to take his students out into the nature, let them collect the plants they thought where interesting, and show them to Carolus who would tell them about their findings. I’m quite confident that if Carolus Linnaeus lived today he would be a geocacher.
Today my son came home from a weekend at the short stay away home, where he lives in regular intervals to let us recharge a little extra, and of course we had to go out geocaching. Today we decided to walk in Carolus Linnaeus footsteps, more or less, and keyed in the coordinates for one of the Carolus Linnaeus multicaches that exist close to our home. I’ve told about one of the other multis in this series over here. The multicaches teaches you about Carolus Linnaeus and what he saw in his time while you follow one of the paths he used to take with his students out from the city and out into the nature. These multis always end with a nice walk over field or into the forest.
Today we also felt the fall is closing in, it’s still warm and summer but the air starts to feel a bit fresher with the slightest hint of chilliness when the sun sets for the night. I have also noticed that a few trees have started to lose the chlorophyll in its leaf. And there are bugs, lots of bugs. I had an orange t-shirt while we were out today and bugs and small beetles were pull to it like magnets. This weekend I even found myself being the main meal for 3 ticks, and I haven’t had ticks in many years despite geocaching.
And here are a few bugs for all computer nerds, like me, out there. Remember Form.A, Cascade and all the other computer viruses that was created because someone was smart enough to do it and wanted to show it? When there was no underground economy that tried to infect computers to earn money? Well, look at what I found in a drawer at work today.