Ever realize you’ve said something to someone that may be offensive? And then try, desperately and unsuccessfully to grab those words and stuff them back in your mouth, choking them down before they register with the offended person??
This is me on an almost daily basis. It is ALWAYS accidental, I don’t want to offend. Rather, if I DID want to offend, I would make sure it didn’t look like such an awkward accident.
So today I was talking to a friend on the phone. I don’t have many friends. (see above).
She is someone I find cool, funny, witty, and bitingly sarcastic. I appreciate it very much. Reminds me of my “best friend”, who I recently introduced her to. I believe they plan to run away together, leaving me far behind.
This friend has a son the same age as my Sammy. The boys have been friends since the days of little gym, it’s been a few years. Well, we moms became friends and our kids thankfully went along with the friendship we created for them so we could hang out together. I think by now the boys really ARE friends too.
My friends son has autism. It’s not a dirty word, but it sure has some dark connotations.
I have known her during the time she was seeking a diagnosis, during the testing and after the diagnosis. She has killed herself to be the best mother she can be, and provide her son with every opportunity to learn, grow, and socialize. He has blossomed, and is so far beyond his age in intelligence. (He could read way before Sammy knew the whole alphabet). He can sit still now, before he was too restless. I see him and I see this boy. I don’t see “Autism”.
I know this is because I am not his mom. I see the easy part, the product of all the hard work, therapy, and tears she’s shed, worried about his future, and her resolve to give him a “normal” life.
I’ve heard how he has been disciplined for doing things that MY son does, but his behavior is attributed to his diagnosis, not the fact that he is a 4 year old BOY. I see what this does to his mom, what it would do to me if my kid was singled out and treated differently because of something he has been labeled with, even if those around him are doing the same thing…
He recently developed quite a fascination with my daughter. Poor Sammy does not exist at the moment. We are together, and he is just enthralled with my little girl. Maybe it’s her awesome boots, her winning personality, her “smallness” compared to the boys. He asks her how tall she is, he likes to hear her talk.
At her birthday party last week, he kept falling down and waiting for her to “save” him…we captured some shots of him leading Jenna by the hand around the gym. Jenna was still asking about him after we got home. We moms find it adorable, joke about arranged marriages….
My husband has been in a state of terror since finding out we were having a girl. Although he wanted a daughter, the reality has him scared of sex, scared of tampons, scared of everything. He would half-joke about wishing we were having a boy instead. I didn’t find it funny. Since her birth, he is in love with her, but still so worried about her, and all the things that could happened to his baby girl. And, in his culture, there is NO dating. period.
So his reaction to the kids “romance” was not as positive. I joked with my friend about how he can’t handle thinking of a boy liking his daughter, his response was more of an “Oh No!”
I could tell I hurt her, although she said nothing. We hung up and I had a heaviness in my chest.
Then she texted me, maybe we should not meet up the next day so my husband doesn’t get upset.
I could have taken that as her joking sarcasm, but I knew better.
And so followed a little text conversation, a little baring of souls. I made sure she knew my husbands issues are about him, dealing with having a daughter. But my friend has been conditioned to take things in a way that highlight her sons diagnosis. It’s not fair. But she has to be ready, because so many things do become about autism, and it’s exhausting for her.
Her nephew, also autistic, gave flowers to a girl in school that he liked. Response from the school? “Careful, ‘those kids’ often become stalkers”.
I hate the judgment and the ignorance that forces my friend to second guess everything her son does, and everything said about him.
I am not an expert in autism. I do have friends with autistic children. I have a son, without autism, who has most definitely stalked at LEAST one friend at school. My oldest child, in 2nd grade, ATE a boys entire art project over several days time. (In her defense, it was made of Reese’s Pieces). My kids have all done weird, unusual, and/or embarrassing things. They continue to do so.
Why can’t a kid with autism still be a kid, and do all the stupid kid things we have all done? Without having their actions only seen in the context of being done by an autistic kid?
My convoluted point? ANY kid can grow up to be a stalker…