A Stupidly Optimistic Parent

Posted by Rebecca Black on Wednesday, May 16, 2012
This has been ringing in my mind for a month or so. Its a quote from one of my favorite movies - CLUE, starring Tim Curry, Martin Mull, Madeline Kahn and a host of other brilliant comic actors. Yes, it is a movie based on the board game. 

The line comes from Madeline Kahn's character, Mrs. White. It is revealed that she has had several husbands, all of whom have died under suspicious circumstances. When she is asked, "What was your husband like?", she replies:

             "He was always a stupidly optimistic man. I'm afraid it came as a great shock to him when he died."
In context, it is a hilarious line. In my life, I've been thinking of adopting it as a life philosophy.

Because actually I am a stupidly optimistic person. When people ask for some life history, I've noted that they tend towards a reaction of "Oh that's awful." "What terrible things have happened to you." But, honestly, I just don't see it that way. I've always made it sort of a point to say, "I'm no pollyanna, but..." BUT the reality is, I am a pollyanna.

I am stupidly optimistic.

Stupidly because I cling to a happy and positive view, despite all evidence to the contrary. Stupidly because in my silly and trivial way, I treasure each and every dumb joke, happy thought and silly idea that comes my way. Stupidly because I refuse beyond all reason to LEARN that the world is not friendly, or happy or good. 

I can't help it. Even in the midst of a generation of sarcastic and snarky doom-sayers, I stupidly cling to a view that the snark is only in fun; the sarcasm is a tool, not an ends and not a philosophy. I can't help but see the good in the world, the light -- that happy thing, the place where compassion and kindness hold sway over all. I'm just wired that way.

Because so many of the children I know and enjoy and value and love (including my own) fall somewhere on the Autism Spectrum, I think I must live in a different universe than many other people. I find Aspies a fun and interesting group; I enjoy the challenge of figuring out a way of seeing the world so different from my own; I focus on differences as special strengths and not as special needs. 

 Maybe its an expression of my own geeky childhood that I still think in super-hero terms. But to me, that child who can quote you every statistic of a steel-type Pokemon is Superman. To me, that child who corrects anyone who doesn't make a literally accurate statement in her presence is Captain America. Amazing gifts being exhibited by amazing people.

So, as a stupidly optimistic parent, I am still convinced that the world will come to see my children as I do. Not as people with limited social skills; not as the ones who talk non-stop about preferred topics, or tell event planners how boring their event is. I believe that one day, other people will not try to argue with my children, or tell me how to parent them, or see them as pain-in-the-neck honest.

Someday, everyone else will see that these children are brilliantly perceptive in their own topics. That they are honest because they live fully as who they are, and not as someone else wants them to be. That their inability to enter or exit gracefully from casual conversation means that they actually have a very true sense of what is IMPORTANT, and what really is not. That their creativity and passion is necessary to the world, not because they are somehow LESS than others, but because they are exceptionally more.

See? Stupidly optimistic. 

Tags: autism  faith and autism  religion blog