A Million Dreams

Since taking on my fifth job - yes, fifth - I’ve been a little MIA on my blog.  I was a little busy, but also, didn’t really feel like I had much to write about either.  We have been doing the daily grind:  school, therapy, homework/housework, bed, repeat.  Nothing “big” happening really, so no blog posts. 

Colin has decided that he loves The Greatest Showman.  Between that and Ice Age, we aren’t watching much else right now.  Yes, I know, he has very diverse taste, right?  He is so mesmerized by the songs, we rewind and listen over and over to our favorite songs. (Do you really rewind a digital movie?  Or is that just what us old folks still say because we grew up on VHS?)  Anyway, this gave me a series idea:  blogging about autism using the soundtracks from The Greatest Showman.  This past summer I wrote about my take on This is Me and autism, so now I’ll do a post for each of the other songs.   First up:  A Million Dreams. 

A Million Dreams starts off with P.T. Barnum as a little boy, saying:

Through the dark, through the door
Through where no one's been before
But it feels like home

Autism is like that.  We often feel like we are in the dark, going through something that no one else has ever experienced.  You just crossed over into the unknown.  What will "autism" mean for your family?  Will my child ever talk?  Will this get better?  Easier?  It’s like going through a hypothetical door when you get that official diagnosis.  You aren’t sure where it’s leading you, but it feels like home.  And do you know why it feels like home?  Because this is still your wonderful, perfect son or daughter.  Everything has changed…yet it hasn’t changed at all. 

The next stanza, the boy is saying that people might call him crazy, but that’s okay, because

We can live in a world that we design.

Also, totally relatable in the world of autism.  Our lives look strange to “outsiders.”  Unless you live it every day, you won’t understand it.  Our parenting is often judged and our children often misunderstood.  Sadly, you and your child will likely be called "crazy."  Or "weird."  Or "bad."  You quickly learn, though, that it doesn't matter what the world thinks.  You know what works for your family, and you live in a world that you design.

The chorus:

'Cause every night I lie in bed
The brightest colors fill my head
A million dreams are keeping me awake
I think of what the world could be
A vision of the one I see
A million dreams is all it's gonna take
A million dreams for the world we're gonna make

This is where it really hits home for me.  As an autism mom, I really do lie awake at night.  Some nights, I’m worrying about something.  Other nights, I’m reliving a particularly big milestone that was met that day. Others, I’m plotting and planning and scheming, trying to figure out how to make my son’s life the best it can be. 

We have to be dreamers, but we must also be doers.  Just like P.T. Barnum and his circus, it’s gonna take a million dreams to bring about the vision I have for the world.  Not just a world of awareness, but one of acceptance.  A world of understanding…one of inclusion…one of love.  A million dreams,…and advocacy, education, outreach, storytelling, listening, and learning.  Blood, sweat and tears…and lobbying, and sharing our stories. 

If you’re a part of the autism community, you know what I mean.  We have to work and fight and work some more.  This world isn't always accommodating or accepting of those who are different.  It is our job to change that.   Together, we can make a difference…because a million dreams is all it’s gonna take, for the world we’re gonna make.


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