I guess I’m not saving the best for last here, I’m just showing it first. Not everyone gets to ever meet their hero ever in their lifetime. Above I am with my 84 year old hero with her arms around Courtenay and I.
Eustacia Cutler is the mother of the famous Temple Grandin. If you don’t know who she is then you need to Google her…and watch this video.
I read Eustacia’s book in sept-ish 2009. I believe it was one of the first autism books I could read. It was hard for me to read about it because it would put me in the dumps in a big, bad way. I picked up her book ( Thorn in my Pocket) and read it at Chapters while Ikey played with the train set there. We were there every Wednesday and Thursday while Silas was in preschool.
Eustacia became my autism mommy hero. Mother’s in that day were blamed for their child’s autism, they were told they never connected with the child and therefore the child is now mentally disturbed. They were called refrigerator mothers. Mothers who were ” hysterical” and in Eustacia’s own words “that means, in Freudian terms, that we…want a penis!”.
Eustacia ignored the “experts” and did not put her child in an institution. She took the advise of some very smart people who didn’t think she was a crazy person and Temple is now world famous for her work with cattle and for her autism advocacy. She is living on her own and everything!
Seeing Eustacia speak was amazing. She gave us her story, incredibly well-spoken, and then went downstairs to sign her book.
I’m timid about getting ppl to sign things or having my photo taken with them. Makes me feel funny, like I’m idolizing them or something. I just couldn’t lose an opportunity to do with with her though, so I went to her table and waited for people to finish talking to her.
I then crouched down beside her and told her what her book meant to me. With her arms around me, I expressed how amazing it was that she was so forward thinking. I told her she saw Temple for the human being that she was and not a problem to be fixed.
Then the most surprising thing happened…
Eustacia’s eyes lit up and she said “well I’ve never though of it like that before.”
What? I’ve taught HER something? The woman who taught me so much has learned something, about herself no less, from me?
I felt pretty cool.
This made me feel much better. So good, in fact, that I am still glowing and I might continue to glow for a long, long time. Who gets to teach their hero something? Or even gets to show them something in a new way?
Anyway, beyond that, I was just so happy to see her, to have her arm around me and share a quiet moment with her. Two autism mommies (and an autism therapist) loving autism for the beauty that it is.