In this post on NT's are Weird, Joel invites people to share what they like about the autistic people in their lives. Joel reports that elsewhere on the Internet, "parents are all talking about how you know you have an autistic if they do various disgusting or horrible things," so he asks us to identify not what is difficult and not why we love them "in spite of the autism," but why we genuinely like the autistic people in our lives.
Let me tell you about Bud.
I love Bud. I love him in that primal to-the-gut way that momma bears love their cubs. My love for him is the essence of who I am. But that's not why I like him. If Bud weren't my child, I would still want him to be my friend.
Bud makes me laugh. He does it on purpose, in that way that good friends do - he knows what will make me laugh and he seizes opportunities to do it. And he laughs at my jokes, too.
Bud is genuine. He never leads with pretense. He puts his cards on the table every day, he makes himself vulnerable, and he trusts that his vulnerability will be safe with me.
Bud is forgiving. He gets angry at me, but after some cooling down, he is always willing to re-engage, to work it out, and to make it better.
Bud challenges my thinking and helps me to see the world in new and different ways.
Bud lets me be who I am, without imposing a lot of expectations about how I should act, what I should say, or who I should be in this world. Who I am already is just fine with him - and, because of that, Bud makes me feel good about myself.
Bud's enthusiasm for life is infectious. He experiences joy with his whole being - inside and out - and his joy radiates from him.
I could go on all day, but I won't - I've got even bigger things planned. You see, it's Saturday, which means that it's "Mom and Bud Day." There are adventures awaiting me - adventures with Bud, the boy I'm proud to have as a son and lucky to have as a friend.