I had a thought tonight, it came out of nowhere. Anthony has been driving us a little bananas, the weekends are SO HARD and I worked all day Saturday and all night and then all day Sunday and came home at like 2:00 in the afternoon and then even though it was six hours until bedtime it felt like four hundred and we had a visit from Laura and everything! He and Felicity are always at odds, mortal enemies, and it's so, so wearing.
So maybe that's why I was thinking tonight what a gift he is, too all of us. Anthony's teacher at school became a special education teacher because her brother has (I think) Down Syndrome and Anthony's program manager studied ABA therapy because her cousin (I think) has autism. Anthony's first program manager got into ABA and became (I think) the youngest recipient of a Masters in ABA in Indiana because her brother had autism. I think they are all wonderful people and they care a lot, a LOT about Anthony and the other kids with whom they work. But are they just wonderful people and that's why they went into Special Ed and ABA? I wonder. I wonder if it's because they were raised around people whom they loved and whom the rest of their family loved and that's why they see some benefit to working with these kids.
Maria is pretty good with Anthony, she is super patient and she is kind and she wants him to be happy. She tries to help when she can and she is (mostly) happy to play chase with him. Veronica is too, but as with everything she doesn't really do it as hard or as loudly as Maria does. Felicity, of course, and Anthony are not really at a point yet where they can get along but as Mike pointed out, in many ways, Anthony is just behaving like a typical big brother with her. He knows that if he screams in her face, it will drive her bananas and he will get a giant reaction of her, and he laughs and laughs when he gets it.
But anyway, tonight I was thinking the onus is really on Mike and me to not just love Anthony, but obnoxiously love him, to love him out loud, so that the girls are brought up with the feeling that we are lucky to have him live in our house. I mean, I feel like we ARE lucky to have him in our family and we DO obnoxiously love him, but I'm glad I thought of those women in Anthony's life tonight, women who were raised seeing people with developmental disabilities as being worth devoting your life to. I don't hope that my girls go into special education or ABA therapy necessarily, but I hope that they will be empathetic and kind and see the value in people who happen to think differently or who are maybe kind of loud or whatever.