~"Fear is the lock and laughter the key to your heart.. and I love you."~Stephen Stills
"Mama...my bag is packed. where is the red sleeping bag?" "It's in the wash-it smells like dog..like lots of dog...lots and lots of smelly old dogs...so..maybe you had better take the blue one..." "O.K."...and with that...my boy left for his week at leadership camp. No anxiety-no worry..he packed and went. Weird thing is-I wasn't anxious either...Not like when Sam went on this trip two years ago..No, back then.. I spent the week doing laundry...loads and loads of laundry.If it wasn't nailed down it was in the washer..I was the queen of the spin cycle-the princess of Tide. It was the only way to keep my anxiety in check...But with Oscar? I didn't seem to have any...
Honestly? It isn't so much that I worry about Oscar..He's a great kid. He's funny..kind.. decent-AND he puts his laundry away..without being told! What more could a mother ask for? It's the world that worries me.. Oscar stims (A lot) he takes his time processing things...his language is stilted..his motor skills are weak..and to anyone who doesn't know him-he probably seems odd..maybe even scary..I'd like to say-that's on them-which really-it is. But the world doesn't work that way..
Today someone apologized to me because I have autistic kids. " Oh!..I'm sorry!."..Huh? Why in the world would someone say that to me? The topic of autism came up-and I made a simple statement. "I have autistic kids" It wasn't like I fell to the ground sobbing or anything.I didn't gulp or stutter on the word "autistic".There was nothing on my manner that suggested I was in any way-shape or form...distraught. Nothing-and yet they apologized.
This is not the first time that this has happened. You'd be amazed (or maybe not) by what some people think is acceptable to say. I can't count the number of times people have either apologized, asked if my kids were adopted..or-sent me articles and meme's about such and such a person who was placed in an institution-because-there was NO HOPE..and then their mother, father, aunt, uncle, reiki practitioner..gave them a book on physics and BOOM! now they work at NASA or Microsoft. Good lord! What is it about autism..or really, any disability that makes people so damn uncomfortable? More importantly though..why do people think that they have the right to apologize for my children? I wish that it would stop.
My kids are regular kids.They do regular kid things...like anyone else, they have hopes and dreams.They are not brilliant mathematicians, physicists,or computer geniuses, They make messes..they clog the toilets..occasionally they clean their rooms. They don't see themselves as tragic..they don't view their lives as hard..because their lives have always been the way that they are-and they do things the way that they do them because that is what they know.To them-it's regular..it's life..it's their normal. Do they struggle? Yes. But Omar and I do our best to help them sort it all out, to navigate.I do wish it were easier for them. But I'm certainly not desperately waiting for them to magically morph into the next Bill Gates, Mozart ,Tesla,Temple Grandin,,,or my personal favorite (I actually got a picture meme with this on it) Adolph Hitler(holy crap!) Like any parent-I just want them to grow into responsible adults with full happy lives. Although if they do happen to make a lot of money...
( I am not negating the fact that their are families whose struggles are incredibly difficult. Disability is a sin in our culture. It sometimes feels like the bigger the disability-the less support that there is. That is what we should be apologizing for.)
I think that Oscar had a good time on his trip. I say think because he is fourteen-and like many fourteen year olds, he doesn't really share much of his life right now.
I went to the school to pick him up..As I was jog walking up to greet..I shouted "Hey! Oscar how are you? I missed you!" He saw me, took one big step-as if he were going to run to me..and then he caught himself..put on his shroud of teenager..and sauntered over
"Did you have a good time? What did you do? Did you eat? I missed you..."
"I had fun. I faced my fears,,"
"What did you do..?"
"A bunch of stuff.."
"Can I have a snack?"
The note (upper left corner) seems to say it all. He took some risks (I know that he did the zip line-something that has terrified him in the past-he has an awful fear of heights) he tried some new things-and he had the support of his entire class. Now If only the rest of the world would follow...