Monday, September 28, 2009

Nicky's begs the question "Who's Disabled?"

I can't comprehend what my life would be like if I was totally free of judgement, fear, prejudice and concerns about others opinions. I can only guess at how different I would be. But thanks to Nicky, I am blessed peek into such a world and imagine the possibility of being a person who is free of those typical human traits.

Nicky doesn't judge people, he doesn't seem to worry about being "Good Enough", he doesn't hold on to anger or resentment and he never seems to have even the smallest concern about what anyone might think of him. At 11 Nicky is already the person most of us spend our lives trying to become; unconditionally loving, connected, pure and filled with joy.

He feels great joy over the simply things as if they were the BEST THING EVER! He lives in a world where guilt, resentment, grudges, and prejudice cease to exist and in their place is joy over things we don't see or appreciate. He's ecstatic when his sister and I walk in the house (even if we have only been gone 10 minutes) he jumps up and down with joy when he see's a duck, and he feels enormous joy when he knows movie end credits are about to roll with music, which means it's his turn to dance in the theater.

This weekend when Nicky and I were shopping at Costco I was given another opportunity to observe the gifts of living in his wonderful world. As we walked Nicky's attention was repeatedly drawn to seniors. When he spotted someone who looked 75 or older, he would say "Hi". His greeting typically got no response on the first try so he would try again. A little louder he would say "Hello, Hi There, Hi" staring at them until they responded. It was wonderful to see the happy and surprised looks on their faces as they realized, a total stranger was determined to get their attention, just to say "Hello". One woman, that Nicky must have said hello to ten times, finally registered that he was talking to her and she lit up like a Christmas tree as she talked to him. Her daughter - looking surprised wondering who her mom was talking to - watched them, and then spoke in Spanish to her mom. She then turned to me and shared that her mom usually does not talk to people outside of the family. She was deaf. But she had said, she could read his lips, he had lips she could read. As they walked away Nicky yelled out "Adios".

When I got to the car I thought to myself Nicky and seniors have something in common. The elderly and the disabled are often treated like they are invisible in society and less important than the young and the healthy. I wondered if somehow Nicky knew that, if he could connect to their shared isolation. Or, maybe his kindness just makes it impossible to see their differences, or maybe just maybe, he can see and feel their sameness in ways that most of us "typical s" cannot begin to comprehend.

What I do know is that once again Nicky had me asking myself the question "Who's Disabled?" and "Who is really learning from who?".


  1. As I was reading this, I, too came to the conclusion that those with autism and those who are elderly are in the same boat--an invisible one at that. Thank you for sharing Nicky's solution to a problem that will only get bigger as so many of us boomers age into "old age."

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Always love reading your blog. Thanks for sharing. Everyday, when Noah wakes up, he tells me it is the best day of his life! I wish I knew how to be that happy...