The Beautiful People

The Beautiful People. That’s you! If you are the parent of a child handicapped by autism or any other disability, that’s you. Even if you don’t look like it or feel like it, I know what you go through and how you love your child through all the challenges that you face.

When PJ was born, I was hanging out with the Beautiful People in  the show business world.  Life was a series of parties, shopping sprees, traveling, hit records  and concerts. Every day was a new adventure.  I was thankful to have such an exciting life.

Then, along came PJ. He was on the severe end of the autism spectrum, non-verbal, hostile, aggressive and hyper-active, with mental retardation thrown in. I was at my wit’s end. His behavior was so challenging that I couldn’t even PAY someone to be his sitter. (I hope that things have changed). I was afraid to leave him with anyone. So now, I spent my days trying to cope with autism and just trying to get through the day. I felt like life was passing me by. The life I was used to was over.  Now, life was a different kind of adventure, an adventure that I didn’t want.

Then, I met the other Beautiful People. Parents of children with disabilities and professionals who worked with us. What a revelation! There were people in the world who cared about us, who helped us, who sacrificed for us. I learned from all of you what Inner Beauty is all about.

Perhaps you have seen some of the Housewives’ or the Sportswives’  TV shows. They are some  of the more popular reality TV shows. If you look at them, they are the Beautiful People. On the outside. Once you get beneath the surface, the beauty is gone. They are not the Beautiful People that I knew or that I know now.  The Temptations had a hit record years ago called  “Beauty’s Only Skin Deep”.  The ladies on the housewives and some of the other reality TV shows are examples of that song. They get rewarded for bad behavior while we are trying to teach our children appropriate behavior. Maybe they never heard the saying, “Pretty is as pretty does”.

So they are not the Beautiful People that I am talking about. I am talking about those of you who have taught me so much. Those of you who have lifted me up when I was down and shown understanding and support. Those of you who face daily challenges and struggles with your child and manage to keep on keeping on.  Timex watches had a slogan years ago,  “Takes a licking and keep on ticking”.  You are the Beautiful People.

I want to make sure that I get some things said while I still can. I attended another funeral.  Chico Edwards, who sang with the Spinners back in the ’60s recently passed away. I have seen so many friends and family die that it reminds me that I still have Life and want to accomplish what I can while I can. Autism has pulled me out of my comfort zone and I am so old that I don’t know how much time (or energy) I have left to accomplish what I want to accomplish. I also have to keep on keeping on.

Until next time; May the Light of God surround you. May the Love of God enfold you.

Claudreen Jackson


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