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I Used to Believe in Pet Rocks and That Plaid Pants Were the Best

When I was a little kid, I believed in a lot of things. I believed in magic, wonder, in the power of wishes and kisses, and that I – and all of us – have the power to change the world. I still believe.

Back then, though, I thought bad people only came in windowless white vans, that if you played a record backwards you could accidentally end up insane and that popcorn balls and apples received on Halloween had to be thrown away because of the danger of razor blades. I believed in Shawn Cassidy, too.

I believed in witches under the bed and in dolls coming to life while I slept (which is why, just in case, I always removed their heads at night and hid them from their bodies).

I believed that my parents’ love would last for always and that I’d never not know what all of my best friends forever were up to every hour.

I believed in being a pen pal and in letter writing, because long distance phone bills were much too expensive to be wasted on childhood gossip. I believed that I’d love the next door neighbor boy forever,and that when he moved away, I’d never have anybody understand me, ever again.

I believed that the bigger the stereo was, the better and that deep shag carpets and plaid pants were the best thing ever invented.

I believed that not having a basket on a bicycle was tragic and that Pooh raincoats would be a fashion statement that withstood the tests of time.

Plaid-pants-and-winnie-rain-coat(pp_w477_h443)

believed in pet rocks and that there would never be a day when kids didn’t leave the house in the morning, unheard from until it was time for dinner at 5:30.

I believed that grownups had the answers to everything.

I knew that phones were connected to the wall and that if you wanted privacy, stretching it around the corner of the kitchen divider wall next to the avocado green refrigerator was best. I believed in the ’70s, friends.

Today, I believe in raising awareness and empathy for special needs, in helping people to understand that the words “special needs” and “autism” are not scary or to be pitied. That life, with or without these words, is almost always worth it and, more often than not, when we can see it, beautiful.

I believe my little boy when he knows best about needing to hold my hand while he falls asleep, that it is true that chasing bad dreams away before he falls asleep works, and that I am the best “play with me” friend he has. I believe that he will be fine, after I’m gone, because not believing in that isn’t an alternative.

I believe in you guys and that you will accept my little boy, just as he is.

I believe there will be a warm and safe place for him, always. That you and your children will welcome him and will be patient with him when he needs a few moments to gather the courage to speak and when he needs a few more to say what he needs to say — and maybe, he’ll need to take a few times to do so for you to understand.

I believe in the magic of my youth and those carefree days before cell phones, laptops, social media and GPS.

I also believe in now.

In the power of social media (have you heard that the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has collected $41.8 million since the end of July? Stay tuned because I have an idea for a social media trend to raise awareness for children whose words become broken.).

I believe that I can still change the world.

That all of us can.

I believe in tonight and in all of the tomorrows.

This post originally appeared on Finding Ninee.

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