Autism Awareness Month

My brother, M., turned 42 yesterday.  We didn't celebrate his birthday.  I have not sent him a birthday card since my schoolgirl days when my Mom would ask me to make him a card and tell him about myself.  M. was diagnosed with autism as an adult just eight years ago when the medical world finally has a vast vocabulary for Asperger's and Autism -- so different from the early 1970s when the terms were "retarded" and "no choice except to institutionalize."

While born and raised in the States for four years, M. left to live an uninstitutionalized life in the Philippines when I was a year old.  It has been a challenge for me to connect to a brother whom I have never known, yet has had such a tremendous presence in my life.  Sure, there have been visits to the Philippines.  But we certainly never grew up together, and as my life has been separate from M.'s for most of my existence, his birthdays have gradually become for me --painfully less meaningful.  

While the movie Rain Man is on a loop for the rest of the month, I'd like to wish M. a belated happy birthday.