Today I finished reading “Love Anthony” as I took the train home from the city.
I shed several tears while I read the non-verbal thoughts of the boy in the story and his mothers journal entries.
I just knew that tears were inevitable after just a few pages of the book and I was painfully aware that before the end of the book I would have to face the fictional Mothers struggles and acceptance of her sons Autism and how it effected her life and his.
The rawness of the emotion that was pulled from me, a Mom just like the one I read about, was at times almost too much to manage.
There were just so many things being written/spoken by this character that were echoes of thoughts I too had had at one time or another while raising my son. Thoughts I have yet to speak out loud and absolutely never would be brave enough to write for fear or self-incrimination and judgment.The most severe judgement coming from myself.
At the end of this story the Author, Lisa Genova, had posted her own note. The wisest words I have heard to date on Autism were given:
“The spectrum is long and wide, and we’re all on it. Once you believe this, it becomes easy to see how we’re all connected”
This single thought provided solace to my aching heart.
Do we tend to forget that our children ARE children and not just autistics? Do we tend to see their differences as flaws and not as uniqueness and refreshment? No matter how severe or mild the autism can we not see the joy, the contentment and the feeling of belonging in our children’s ‘oddities’ and embrace and accept these actions knowing that that make our children happy?
The stimming that we would only pray could vanish forever, the rigidity in actions and choices of foods or games do we not see that no matter how society views our kids that we, the parents who know our children best, MUST see how pleasurable these behaviors are and that no matter how uncomfortable they may make us or others, they are comforting to our kids. Accept that in your childs opinion he is happy and feels loved.
Our children ARE children and we cannot forget to let them BE children. Carefree, explorational and naive. Let them learn their own way and enjoy watching the merriment this freedom provides.
Do not beat yourself up for feeling how you do and allow yourself to let your child be. No one can tell you what your child needs to find contentment and no one has the right to make you feel wrong when your child is happy.
I’ve hear the same comments you all have.
“Why is a 7 yr old acting like that? My kid wouldn’t”
“Isn’t that child a little big for that grocery cart?”
“Look at the tantrum, looks like that Mom needs to learn to say no!”
“Don’t they know how to get their child to behave?” “what is wrong with him?”
Ignore the ignorance. If your child likes to bounce and flap. Let him. Instead of wishing he would act like the others just look…really look and see his smile as he does it. THAT is happiness.