Hello everyone. I know I have been missing in action lately, and for good reason. My career has taken me to a new place, which has bestowed more responsibility on me, and less time to write. I am fully aware that I am slipping away here, but I still intend to give it my all on days that it allows me to. So please except my apologies for my absence.🙂
A few weeks ago, I watched an event unfold with my son, and it’s been bothering me for a while now. My husband finally spoke up about it last night, as it was bothering him too and stating that he was feeling the same way. And the event that I speak of, is the growth of autism… and it’s just not cute anymore. It’s actually quite serious.
Here, let me explain.
When my son was first diagnosed at age 3, his little quirks, habits, and idiosyncrasies, were not only sweet, but they were starting to form the person that he is today. His little eccentricities were deliciously charming (as they are now) because he was so little. And when he smiled, he melted me and everyone around him with his captivating giggle. Maturity wise, he has always been behind… and he will continue to be behind, but it’s up to me, my husband, and his entire team to teach him and help him to make his way in the world.
The event that I speak of, was a simple play-date. A play date with a boy almost one year older than him, and for the first time… the difference in maturity, and ability, stood out like an enormous pink elephant in the room. My sons maturity level is probably of a three-year-old. He still prefers to parallel play with others, share his toys but on his terms, is still inflexible when it comes to letting a friend pick the movie that they’ll sit and watch together, and when he stims… other children stop and look.
It just isn’t cute anymore.
One of my most favorite things about children, is their honesty. Their innocence and honesty is what drives them to be who they are meant to be. And because they are so young, they don’t know how to “fake it” like we adults do, and we adults put on a face and we tolerate situations that we would rather not be in. Children lay it all out there for the world to see, because they don’t know any other way. That’s why I admire them so much.
They have absolutely nothing to hide.
But during this play date, it was the first time that I noticed a child openly and honestly not want to play with my child… because this boy had surpassed my child in every way. He came to our house thinking that he was actually going to have a play date with someone that wanted to play with him. He actually thought that he was going to run around our backyard and play superheroes, or have imaginary play with someone that could reciprocate with his ideas. And I’m sure he thought that he would have endless conversation with someone that was interested in the same things that he was interested in. Instead, he just wanted to play on his iPad.
And it hurt. It hurt like hell.
I always feared that my child would be known to others as “the weird kid” or the boy that could script YouTube and movie quotes all day long. When he was little, it was cute, but he’s almost 7 years old. And it’s just not cute anymore.
I’ve excepted my sons disability for years now. But it’s still hard to except the new things that pop up, like the obvious differences in peers and friends of his own age group, and their tolerance level for him. The boy that came to our house to play did absolutely nothing wrong in any way, shape, or form. He was just being a kid. He was being a good, honest, sweet kid, because his parents raised him to be that way.
Maybe it’s just time for me to wake up and smell the roses. Maybe it’s time for me to just except the fact that my son will always be years behind his own maturity level, but it’s also time for me to teach his little friends and let them know that it’s OK to have friends that are different. Willy is still the same boy he was years ago, and he will continue to be the same boy, years from now. And it’s up to others to do the same for their children; typical or nontypical.
It’s all about acceptance my friends. And this will be a lifelong process for me too; excepting the new things that come up, and still loving him for who he is now, and all the quirky goodness that makes my boy… my boy.