Here’s the funny thing…autism and my boy never stop teaching me. NEVER…ever. Every day is enlightening, learning and jaw dropping. I never saw that side of autism coming either but autism is simply like that.
As a grown up and a parent you think you understand a lot of things. I have been a parent for fifteen years. Fifteen years! I know stuff…but, well, not quite enough to take on my oldest son. Generally, when I start to talk to my kiddos about something I kind of have the script in my head. Like..this is what I want to tell him, this is how he will respond and here’s how I’ll explain it. It’s easy. It’s straight forward.
But…it never really is.
I was talking to my oldest son who is now 12…almost thirteen. He is the second oldest of my three children, my middle child and my wild ride through the autism spectrum. He is some of the most awe inspiring, knock the wind right out of your sails kind of conversations I have. He makes me realize I understand NOTHING. When I am very lucky, he lets me into his view of life.
Here’s how it all went. Simple and yet astounding…at least it was to me.
Mom: Hey buddy. Last year we sure had a great academic year. You rocked the school year (which was no easy feat because it was our first year at middle school), made the honor roll and made great choices.
My boy: Uh huh. (He was clearly unimpressed).
Mom: This year, I’d like to make our goal to make a good friend.
My boy: What are you talking about? I have good friends, Mom.
Mom: Really? Buddy, I haven’t noticed any friends. No one came to our house to play last year and you haven’t went to anyone else’s house.
My boy: Why would I want to do that? I don’t want to bother my friends at home.
*mom’s jaw hits floor*
Seriously, this is NOT the script that had been playing in my head.
And, voila….the boy is absolutely on the mark and Mom never sees it coming. He may or many not have friends but it is his perception that matters. In his mind, in his heart, his level of friendship is okay with him. These are the moments when his clarity and his wisdom floor me. These are the moments when I take all my mom-wisdom and realize it’s of very little use when it comes to parenting this child. Autism or not, the boy is brilliant. I am blessed and, honestly, I like autism. Dare I say it? I love autism. I do. I like what it and he bring to me, how they better me. It’s a lot of work and worry and grief at times but it is worth every moment. With that simple explanation, the boy shot Mom right out of the water.
He was right.
He is happy with his level of friendship. He is happy with the amount of interaction he is having. It was clear, this was Mom’s issue. I relented because I could see his wisdom. We axed the goal and let the boy be and I chuckled as I realized I’d just been schooled by my boy and, once again, autism and it’s brilliance set a new goal for ME.