You may have noticed that I often make baseball references when I write. I love baseball. I married someone who loves baseball. I find it extremely therapeutic to watch. The athleticism, the teamwork, the fans, the parks and the ridiculously elaborate stats (so-and-so has struck out every lead off left-hander on the first Monday of August when the moon was full on each odd numbered year of his career while at home.) Needless to say, baseball is a thinking person's game.
Baseball is a great game for autistic people since it allows for extremely focused and detailed interests. The players themselves become such masters of their respective positions that surely autism has permeated MLB. Of course, it is that high-functioning, feel good autism/asperger's, that people and the media like to talk about, but autism just the same. Surely, some of the greatest athletes of all time exhibited some of the over-focusing we see in so many autistic individuals. Michael Jordan? Muhamed Ali? Micheal Phelps? So, you'll understand if I compare Kate's autism diagnosis to the idea of being thrown a knuckleball, (I had to upate that baseball reference, R.A. Dickey, anyone? And of course, Tim Wakefield.)
I like comparing Kate to a knuckleball pitcher because she is as difficult to get a handle on but amazing to watch just the same. I feel a bit like the catcher trying to catch that elusive pitch. It looks like it should be easy right? Surely, it will be simple to grab. Hardly. That pitch stands out and confuses us because it is so different. We aren't sure how to handle it. We are working on it. Still though, we love trying to understand it because it is worth it. We love watching it defy people and we love watching people determined to master it. Do I have to keep going with this analogy? You see where I am going, right? Great. Sometimes on this blog I swear at autism. I don't love it and celebrate it like some. I love and celebrate Kate, and I understand that autism is a part of her (so spare me the person-first language debate) but I don't celebrate the grief it has caused her or our family. I do, however, respect that Kate is dealing with the differences in her brain by throwing us knuckleball after knuckleball and we are doing our best to catch them. Just ask J.P. Arencibia about that feat.
We are getting more comfortable with navigating through this. We are becoming more seasoned, so to speak. We feel like more of a Doug Mirabelli to her Tim Wakefield, if you will. Tired of these references yet? Well, here is one more:
Kate's dad and I are clutch, so bring it, autism.
Grace and Kate's mom. (Shanell)