20140330-013757.jpgIt’s that time of year again; April 2nd, the day of the ‘Light it Up Blue’ campaign is just around the corner.  It is run by Autism Speaks, and it is a major event and fundraiser for the organization.  To be honest, for this one day, I don’t really care that much about the research, fundraising, and the like.  On that night, it feels like new years eve for me.  As the clock progresses around the world and each time zone approaches, I sit and watch, one by one, major landmarks and attractions light and decorate themselves a lovely shade of advocate-blue.

Autism can be lonely.  In society, it is easy to feel like you don’t belong.  It feels like everyone has a different trajectory and life from you, and you don’t fit in.  I went through a period right after Taylor was diagnosed, and his symptoms really started coming out, that I no longer felt I fit in with the friends I had,  I felt like somehow I just didn’t belong to the group anymore, so I pulled away and hid, still so desperately wanting to fit in and to know that I was still valued and accepted in society.  Not just the ‘We-just-won’t-look-at-you-weird,-but-we-won’t-notice-you-either.’ acceptance, but the ‘We-accept-you-and-want-to-call-you-friend.’ type of acceptance. More like the shy awkward kid on the playground that gets invited to play with the popular girls. Autism parents have so much more to them than their child’s or children’s autism.  We have our own hobbies, likes and dislikes, music preferences, favorite books and so much more that have nothing to do with autism…even some parenting stories.  We want to be seen as more than just an autism parent.  We are so much more dynamic than that.  The same sentiment goes for siblings. Autistic people themselves are so more than just their diagnosis and some of the coolest people ever.  Taylor loves MarioKart (or anything Mario for that matter), running, jumping on the trampoline, playgrounds, swings, his train sets, playing games at an arcade, gymnastic trampoline play places where you can rocket in to a foam pit or jump on a trampoline way bigger than his room, movies, my Galaxy s5, daddy’s iPhone, the iPad, recess, lunch and P.E. at school, and more.  Sounds pretty normal for a boy to me.

On April 2nd, autism families see this,

LIUB2

 

and this,

LIUB1

 

and these

LIUB3 LIUB4 LIUB5 OHSU LIUB

Also, ‘Light it Up Blue’ is not limited to just major buildings and landmarks.  Homes everywhere light up blue, from garage and porch lights to blue Christmas lights and more.  I would love it if people lit their homes blue and shared it to Facebook with the hashtag #LIUB.  I would also love to see your pictures here in the comments on this blog or my blog’s website The Stay at Home Soprano. It is so much fun to see it all.  (a side note…Dear Oregon, last year we seriously underrepresented.  Let’s change that this year.  Oregon represent!) Our hearts swell with gratitude and a feeling that we are not alone…that people outside of autism’s reach care.  On April 2nd, the message is clear…We see you, we accept you, we think you’re pretty cool and…do you want to play?

 

What does Light it Up Blue mean to you?  Positive thoughts welcome.  Negative comments about the event, autism awareness, Autism Speaks, or just plain negative in general will be deleted. (Also, usually when you say “I’m not judging” in your comments, you probably are.)

Sarah

As always, positive comments are welcome. Negative hurtful comments will be trashed before I can even finish reading them. I have many readers who are emotionally vulnerable, and I will not post comments that will further harm.

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Sarah