Naming a child is a privilege. Apparently, judging by some of the choices taken, not a privilege deserving of the greatest consideration and respect in all circumstances. Contemplation not misplaced when presented with ‘Fish ‘n’ Chips’, and ‘ABCD’, to quote some examples worthy of further ponder. When a tiny mess of calmness, and a carefully chosen word given his utter peaceful persona when he chose to enter this world, fought his way through the throws of childbirth to enter the fraternity of life, a great choice lay before us. What everlasting beacon and insignia to cast upon this joyous bundle the good Lord had delivered us? Baby name books, preposterous old-fashioned teasing, and lively debate led us to Lucas Alexander. Strong, perhaps too classical for a technological world moving with a speed gay abandon could merely cast an eye of jealously over if he were savvy enough to even catch a glimpse, but in the humble light of one beautiful morning the choice appeared well-intended, well-chosen, and well-informed. From Lucas a natural affinity to the word ‘Lucky’ arose. Luciano through to Lucky Strikes: what could possibly go wrong? Alternatively, was the clue there?
Fast forward years later. Does the name still apply? Understatements remain a currency sold every day, as is sensationalism, and over exposure. Lucky? No, special. Parents achieve much, and falter routinely too. What is in a name? Lucky? No. Special, very special more apt a title.
Autism is a strange mistress. A whimsical darling, circulating, cunning, conniving, sometimes mean, boisterous, playful, complicated, and above all, engaging. To shoo the devil from your shores is appealing but to what extent would one lose if banishing the beast were as easy as popping a pill, feeling the drip, or passing through the psychological analysis? In isolation, a crushing burden to carry, an evasive, shrewd character, difficult to comprehend, but taken in context of four siblings, a genuine eye-opener, and educator to rival the best.
Scalpels, blades and an insight afforded to few, a surgeon skilfully cuts, builds, attacks, and challenges the holy beings to our mere existent. Concrete and precise. No words of their diction end with ‘ologist’. For their thought and skill falls either side of the line: black and white, life or death. Medicine removed from the operating theatre blurs the lines considerably, and further still when delving into the infinite complex world of neurology. Surgery remains a viable option in scenarios requiring a mechanical fix, or to another extreme, the utter brilliance to survive. Autism, however, has no known route to the Promised Land. Neither belittling nor criticising but a surgeon’s wand holds no magic to those confused, afraid, and overwrought by the throes of a spectrum disorder. Medicine from a perspective of true practice, research, and ultimately, although not decrying their efforts by choice of words, guess work, provides the ‘ologists’ of this world great challenges. Not only from their chosen desire of study, but from the inquisitive and ever-demanding world of parents and carers. Where lies the magic pill, the silver bullet, the answer to our prayers? Steal constitutions, ironclad wills, and a determination to sink the hearts of world leaders, an Autism Parent (a self-proclaimed title granted but one worn with a pride indescribable to all those other than true empathisers) marches upon the wilderness, and paths (less chosen and common) with fortitude, desire and willpower with only one aim: the happiness of their offspring.
A brother defends his sibling: he does not think like us. Words, statement, phrase, and though a burden that should never find its way onto the shoulders of children so young, but circumstances dictate their fate. Handled with grace, dignity, and a courage beyond their years, they bound together, collectively strong, to protect that which they do not yet fully understand. Lucky was the name we chose, responsibility was not a wish our desires held for the older boys. Blessed a better terminology but hardly appropriate for a normal toddler boy.
First, second, or third child, are you looking closely enough? Answers swirl like leafs in a blizzard, or punch you straight on the nose. Attention to detail is not the answer, nor any mystic, fairylike deduction. Clues fall beneath your footsteps and disappear again like the first snowdrops of winter. Attention, observation, research, and dedicated nurturing all fight the natural instinct of denial: the stubborn refusal to accept what may or may not be evident to those who truly seek. Parents march to hospitals the world over, the delivery date, or imminent birth blindly driving them in a cocoon of bliss and ignorance: the modern world of medicine could not fail them. Freud laid out theories, many still believe such hypothesises, but an angelic, mythical and magical blanket of bliss never covers every delivery room, and pre- or post-birth is never completely responsible for your beloved’s mental health.
Lucky? Aside from ADHD, a rather peculiar problem with second and third toes, yes in every way. Sensory processing disorder only adds to the fun. Many a baby screams, rants, and voices an intolerable dissatisfaction to a smelly nappy. Not the child on Autism Spectrum Disorder with sensory problems. Lucky is one to engage and absorb the putrid smell of his bowels. Unbearable for normal humans only a Mother, and a certain kind of Mother, can withstand the violent attack of one’s nostrils, a nappy soiled by Lucky causes.
Change maybe constant and the truth certainly holds true when each day the sunrises and the fun begins, but in a name, steadfast and unrelenting in our beliefs, did we truly get it right? Lucky? You bet we did!