I just finished watching Joshua Littman’s interview with his mother- captured by Story Corps and put to film by the Rauch Bros.
I got teary at how intensely he feels things- and how he’s tried to cope with them by asking his mother questions. In this short 4-minute clip, he works through sibling rivalry, worry that he’s disappointed his mother, questions about feeling different- and I am amazed how he is able to use his obsession with animals as the bridge to all of those “hard” questions.
In his mother’s voice, I hear all of the love and worry and the constant reframing that we mothers do for our children. It is perhaps her reframing that I admire most. She doesn’t shy away from how hard it is- but phrases it as “learning”. She reframes his sister Amy’s socialability and different social interactions as a “girl thing” and reframes the emphasis onto the quality of friendships that he has. She reframes the challenges into how he’s so much more than she expected. I hear the words MY mother used when I was 12, 18, 20, heck 42!- struggling to figure out where I fit in. I do not hear the word “autism”. I do not hear the word “disability”.
I hear, in this short 4 minutes, how Joshua is struggling to find his place in the “family of things” (as Mary Oliver says), while being reassured about his place in his own family.
I hear words that I can use when these questions are asked. Even if they’re never spoken- the questions will be asked.