Fly Away. It arrived in the mail two weeks ago. I have been putting off watching it because I have a really hard time watching movies about Autism. And yes, I have seen the wonderful movie about Tempel Grandin, and I watch the tv show Parenthood, thanks for asking.
One of the things I struggle with most is not knowing what the future will bring. We have no idea how much progress Max will have. While we hope that he will be able to live some semblance of an independent life, this may not be feasible for him. I prefer to focus on the strides he is making and I do have a deep belief that Max's future is very bright. We are only a few years into this journey with Autism. It is hard to watch movies about older kids with Autism because this may be a forecasting of our future, and it may not. There is a part of me that feels like accepting that Max may not reach a point where he can live independently is actually setting that future into motion by allowing my vision for Max to have such limitations, and giving these thoughts room in my mind to take hold. Should I not be of the mindset that the sky is the limit for Max? That he can do anything? Or maybe I am being unfair to Max by putting too much focus on him developing new skills and being able to fit in with his peers. I will love him either way, so why put so much focus on it?
I finally gathered up the nerve to watch the movie last night. I lasted 24 minutes before I had to turn it off. It was just too close to home for me. It was like watching my life being reenacted by a woman and her 16 year old daughter who has Autism. The things that this woman and her daughter deal with in the movie are the same things we deal with on a day to day basis with our son Max, who is turning 5 in a few weeks. The calls from school that he needs to be picked up because he is having a meltdown, the aggression he exhibits when he is put into a no-win situation that he is not able to cope with, the impact on my ability to do my professional work effectively, the sleepless nights, the odd behaviours that become your norm, and on and on.
I think when you live with a child with Autism, the things you do to maintain calm in your home become ingrained in you and you forget that this is not how other people live. It isn't until you step outside the situation and view it from 50,000 feet that you see just how much you do every day, and how much stress you live with. It took my breath away.
Would I recommend this movie? If you have a child with Autism, probably not. If you don't have a child with Autism, yes, you should watch it. It may make you feel uncomfortable at times, but it will also give you an accurate insight into what families with children with Autism deal with. When you are done watching it, I hope you come back here and comment and let me know how it ends (just kidding). I read the synopsis, I know what happens. While you are at it, please consider sponsoring Max for the Toronto Walk Now For Autism coming up in June.