When I drop off Andy at school, there is a van with one of those "in loving memory" decals on the back window. The loving memory is of a child who lived just shy of six months.
I know a lot of kids that some people think would be better off not being here. In fact, there are people in this world who think Joey is one of those kids. They make it clear with their attitudes towards prenatal testing, their attitudes towards disabilities, and even the way they act when they discover Joey is autistic.
I just want those people to know a few things.
I love Joey and Andy. I wouldn't trade them and who they are for all the tea in China.
Just because autism is part of who Joey is, and I love Joey as he is, doesn't mean I don't want to help him, support him, and raise him. I want him to grow and be happy and enjoy life. He's doing a good job of that.
Let me make that really clear: Joey loves living. He enjoys life. He wants to be here, too.
I know several children who are more disabled than Joey with various conditions. I assure you that they all enjoy being here, too.
There are things far worse than having a disabled child. I cannot imagine the pain of the parent at Andy's school. And I hope I never know what that is like. I am absolutely sure it is far worse than anything I have ever experienced. Ever. And to that parent- I am thinking of you and your family.