Advocacy: The act orprocess of supporting a cause or proposal.
I met with an advocate earlier this week. She also has a son with a disability and hasinteracted with those who ultimately decide what our children’s futures willhold. She encouraged me to use “strengthwords” to describe Brandon. Instead offocusing on what he can not do, let’s focus on what he can do. She asked me to describe Brandon using three strengthwords.
Brandon is loving. Heenjoys being around those who know him well. Brandon shows his love for others in many ways. He doesn’t give kisses, he sniffs people’shair. If he likes you, he will sniffyour hair more than once.
He likes to give hugs. And he likes receiving them. For him,I imagine it feels like a big body squeeze and it is a bit calming forhim. Don’t we all like a good hug everynow and then to help us feel better?
At least a dozen times a day, Brandon will ask me to givehim a kiss on the forehead. He doesn’task his father or brothers for this, just me. He likes fist bumps and high fives from them.
If I am upset, Brandon will sit beside me and put his headon my shoulder. He, sometimes, willsqueeze my hands. From his perspective,he thinks this is calming for me like it is for him. And it usually is. Smart kid!
Attention to Detail
Brandon is very detail oriented about certain things. He likes to do puzzles and has several hekeeps in his room. Most of them are onthe floor in his room. If I move them tothe bookcase while cleaning, he will put them back on the floor. I finally gave up and they remain on thefloor.
His room is his haven, his safe place. Books are in the bookcase in a certainorder. When he gets a book out to lookat, it goes back in the exact same spot. Always. His desk has his computerand other knick knacks that do not move. If something is moved, he notices almost immediately and will movethings back to where they were.
Sense of humor
Brandon is funny. Hissense of humor comes out at unexpected times. The other night, he was watching the Cardinals game with Steve andI. Jedd Gyorko was up to bat and Iyelled “Come on Gyorko”. Brandon laughedhysterically. I wasn’t sure why, so Isaid “Gyorko” again and Brandon laughed again.
Brandon hates overhead lights. He always wants to kitchen light turned offand he doesn’t like the overhead light in his room. I do not like the overhead light on in ourfamily room. I prefer lamps. Occasionally, when I leave the family room, Brandonwill turn on the overhead light. When I walkback into the room and notice it, I will look at him and turn the lightoff. And he always, always, alwayssmiles when I do. I think he is playingwith me when he does this and it makes me laugh.
I had become a bit blind to these things. When I started thinking about it, there areso many other word of strength that describe Brandon. He is strong, he is courageous, he isresourceful, and he is persistent.
I am so thankful for the advocate who made me stop and think about these things. There is a lot my son can not do. I am trying to focus on what he CAN do. He makes me laugh and he shows me he loves me in so many ways. He has so many strengths and we will celebrate those!