For my family, April 2nd is a very special day; together, we light it up blue in celebration for World Autism Awareness Day. Previously, I have talked about my older brother (and his daughter, Peanut); however, today’s post, and our LIUB celebration, is in dedication to my younger sister, Jac.
Jac was diagnosed with autism at a very young age; growing up, there were times where she would remain silent or softly sing to herself, times where loud noises or certain phrases would upset her, times where her emotions would overcome her, and times where she would repeat herself until you spoke the intended responses just right — to some, these instances may seem burdensome, but to us, she was normal.
There were difficult days though; there are always difficult days in any family situation. As a child, there were some days where my frustrations got the better of me, not having enough maturity to fully understand. Or maybe, it was not having enough knowledge? Growing up, autism wasn’t a disorder to me; my sister was just my sister. Even as an adult though, I know I can be better, having moments where I am not as sympathetic as I should be. But at the end of the day, we are still sisters and I will always love her.
Despite being high-functioning, there are still so many things that Jac may not be able to fully experience. Although this does sadden me, sometimes I wonder if she is the lucky one. Jac is so incredibly fearless, never second guessing herself. Some may say this is due to the disorder’s inability to properly process a situation, but I say, this is her superpower. For example, my sister loves to dance. At every family gathering, every wedding or sweet sixteen, if there is music playing, she is on that dance floor and she is tearing it up! There is no inhibition, there is no self-consciousness, and there is no need for liquid courage; she is simply enjoying the moment.
For April 2nd, I wanted to do something special for her. Whenever I bake, my sister is always the first person ready and happy to taste my creations. As soon as my mixer goes off, I hear her inquiring about what I am baking. She is very honest, often responding with a witty retort if she does not approve of my recipe. For her though, I knew a simple sugar cookie, cut into a puzzle piece and topped with blue frosting would receive her approval.
After the cookies were made, we also went out for a special afternoon (just us); something that sadly, we do not get to do too often. We went to see the new Power Rangers movie, rocking out to 90’s television theme songs the entire ride to the theater. If there is one thing I love most about my sister, it’s glancing over at her during certain songs, movies or shows and watching the sight of pure joy beam from her. At the end of our drive home, I thanked Jac for such a fun afternoon, and she replied with a very happy and giggly, “you’re welcome!”