As a parent with an autistic child, do you ever find yourself conflicted with how you should feel after you just told someone for the first time about your child? I am much stronger now than I used to be obviously. I’m not as easily hurt or emotional when talking about Andrews autism. But I find different peoples different reactions and responses interesting. I don’t blame other people who are not in my shoes in any way. I suppose I’m just writing this entry because I after 10 years of this journey I still get mixed feelings. Some people respond with “Oh I’m sorry to hear that.” My usual thinking is “Oh but wait his autism isn’t that tragic? Why are you apologizing?” However I get it because most people see it as a devastating thing and they’re just offering their sincere apology. Or most I guess don’t know exactly how to react. Others response will be a straight face no emotions followed by an “Oh” or “Okay” with a pause obviously waiting for me to continue telling them more. I also often find myself thinking inside why aren’t you phased by what I just said? Or do you know what autism is or the level of autism and what it does to your life? But then again I get it too. I understand that some people realize autism isn’t a tragedy so they’re not going to apologize nor show any sympathy. So why do I find myself in these situations wanting them to show me some sympathy. When in fact I know that when a person does apologize I honestly wish they weren’t so sad to apologize about Andrew’s autism. I honestly don’t know which response I like or feel most comfortable with but as I’m writing this I’m thinking maybe the most comforting ones are the people who respond by asking “what is autism exactly?” I think their honesty somehow comforts me in a way where I know they are genuinely have no knowledge and showing interest. Or maybe because this rarely happens where somebody does ask what autism is. Either way I would think after 10 years I would be a little bit unfazed by a people’s reaction but I guess I’m not.
Sometimes I just need to get out enjoy the fresh air, feel the coolness on my cheeks and stroll through life’s beauty. It’s free. It’s peaceful. It’s reliable. It’s not judgemental.
Sunset. Blue silver lining. December is full of anxiety ridden events. Actually it’s been pretty awful since Fall began. I’m starting to feel some relief since a few of those things have passed. But still few more to go. I already want the new year to be here!
Dear Anyone who’s not an autism parent but trying to understand autism parents,
You know those moments in life when you’re hurt that a mean kid was not so nice to your child? Or how horribly difficult the “terrible twos” were? How much you struggled to keep your shit together as you tried to control your possessed kid in public. How cruel people in public can be for giving you the bad parent/bad child glare? What about having to de-code wth your life insurance or retirement plans mean? Or worse, a store, party venue, restaurant or insurance company denying coverage, denying return of a bad item, dismissing bad customer service. Having to escalate it to management? Remember that bad year when your child that horrible terrible no good, very bad teacher?! Phew thank goodness that was just one school year. How sad you were when your youngest was delayed compared to all their friends when it came to sports? But now ecstatic you were when he finally got that ribbon from swimming to the next level, even though it took him longer than every other 5 year old?
Autism families go through similar pains everyday, every hour, every week throughout their lives. Not occasionally but everyday. The struggle is so very real. It’s exhausting, depressing, disappointing.