Reaching One Thousand
A Story of Love, Motherhood and Autism
This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.
'This is the best kind of memoir – there is a beautiful calm clarity that drew me in, and held me until the end.' – Georgia Blain
‘Deeply touching but never sentimental, this remarkable book is more than a story of one boy and his mother. It’s a thoughtful meditation on the intricate workings of the human mind and heart.’ Toni Jordan
‘He’ll grow out of it,’ my friends told me.
‘He’s so intelligent,’ my family said.
‘Your parents are mathematicians,’ people reminded me. ‘What did you expect?’
What did I expect? We expect many things of our children.
Most of the time we are only aware of these expectations when something
happens to make it impossible for them to be fulfilled.
When Ben is a baby, Rachel puts his quirks down to eccentricity. He likes to count letterboxes; he hates to get his hands dirty; loud noises make him anxious.
But as Ben grows and his behaviour becomes more pronounced, it becomes clear
there is something else going on. When he is diagnosed with autism, Rachel must
reconsider everything she thought she knew about parenting, about Ben, and about how best to mother him.
Reaching One Thousand charts her quest to understand autism and to build a new kind of relationship with her son. Along the way she explores her own childhood, discovering unexpected links between Ben’s experiences and her own. Before she can presume to tell Ben’s story, she realises, she must face difficult questions – questions about intimacy, trust, and what it means for a mother to write about her child.
Exquisitely written, this is a thought-provoking story about family and understanding, and a tender love letter from a mother to her son.
Rachel Robertson teaches in professional writing and publishing at Curtin University. Her fiction and essays have been published in The Best Australian Essays, Australian Book Review, Griffith Review and Island. Her essay ‘Reaching One Thousand’ was joint winner of the 2008 Calibre Prize.