One of my projects has been to illustrate a story about my maternal grandparents for my children. My mother’s parents lived a life that appeared to be supported, rather than encumbered, by self-consciousness.
My grandparents exemplified self-acceptance, so I hope that they make good story subjects.
In a journal dated November 2012, I wrote:
My grandparents lived exactly as they wanted to live and didn’t bow to societal pressures to be like other Canadian grandparents. My grandmother went to work while my grandfather stayed home. My grandmother didn’t cook, clean, garden, knit or sew; my grandfather did.
They didn’t own a house; they owned a condo. There wasn’t a playground when we visited; I played in my grandmother’s home office among ill-arranged furniture. There weren’t toys; my grandmother gave me calculators and stationery for entertainment…
Above all, they demonstrated that being different is, oddly, what makes us like everyone else.
I want both children to know that Frances is not different because she has autism spectrum disorder (that is only one facet of her uniqueness); she is “different”, as we all are, simply because she is human.