I have been thinking about my son in relation to the rest of the family.
On the whole, we are a dysfunctional lot. We have, as the saying goes, more issues than Vogue. Among the four neurotypical (whatever that means) ones there are specifically issues of depression and anxiety. It colours our whole lives.
Frodo's autism colours his whole life as well in far greater ways than our anxiety and depression. You can see that by the way we refer to these things. We *suffer from* depression, we *have* anxiety, but he *is* autistic. The condition is totalizing in ways that the others are not.
But he is different from us in other ways. He is, without reservation, the happiest of us. That is an incredibly low bar, to be sure, but he is seldom other than happy, and his joy often takes the form of a hyperactive exuberance. It cannot be contained, as though it must simply burst out of him through every pore in his body. And he has the exact opposite of anxiety: he doesn't have a care in the world.
In that sense, he helps to balance us out- our darkness and cares are brought to a level by his cheer and lightness. He is a powerful source of happiness in this family. Rose coloured glasses? Perhaps. But for the moment, I have managed to see him not as a problem to be tended or an issue to be fixed, but rather a cure to our problems. He still needs all our help, to be certain, but he, in his own way, simply by being himself, is also helping us.
Or so it seems to me.