“You don’t raise heroes, you raise sons. And if you treat them like sons, they’ll turn out to be heroes, even if it’s just in your own eyes”. ~Walter M. Schirra, Sr.
My son is that child. You know the one who makes random loud noises? You may hear him barking at times or chirping like a bird. If we are out in public you may catch him dart across the parking lot impulsively while a woman with a newborn, toddler and ten year old chase after him.
I never fully accepted that my son was Autistic until I was actually able to breakdown all of my emotions. I thought back over the years and I knew there was something wrong, the doctors would tell me there was, but I ignored it. There was testing after testing; and only one time was there a doctor who said he was perfectly normal…so I ran with it–knowing they were wrong. He didn’t speak until almost four, he wouldn’t make eye contact, but I always shrugged it off as maybe he just didn’t want to be bothered. But then he started kindergarten, and well it couldn’t be ignored any longer.
He did pretty well the first half of the year,but towards Christmas break of 2013 things got worse. Frequent calls from the teacher, tantrums, meltdowns. It was a nightmare. We don’t even talk about kindergarten year because it was so bad, and when we started the process to get help after Christmas break the school pretty much “labeled” him as the bad kid and it the rest of the school year was a wash.
Then it happened. One day while riding in the car with my husband I broke down and cried. I cried so hard that I never thought I would stop. I had never been so open with my feelings about Drew before because I always felt guilty for thinking it. So the thought of saying it out loud mortified me.
There are days when I watch other young boys in the neighborhood play football and basketball and I am often filled with
envy. I love my son more than life itself, and it hurts to even say this; but I do wish there was nothing wrong. I know that God blessed me with this wonderful little boy for a reason and every single day I see that reason. Our home is filled with so much laughter and energy because of him. He may not have an interest in sports, or anything that doesn’t involve Hot Wheels or Lego’s but I don’t care.
Like any parent I feel awful when he asks me why doesn’t he have friends. I instantly think back to the time at church where he tried to play with a little boy and a group of boys were wrestling and he wanted to join in. Well I guess another parent didn’t like him wrestling with her son and she yelled at him to get away from her son. Andrew was crushed. I was pissed. Pissed the fuck off. That same woman can’t even look at me straight. I wanted to say something, but I didn’t. She was lucky. If I ever see her some place that is not inside church I will tell her how I felt about that.
As we continue this process with more and more paperwork, waivers, ABA Therapy and everything involved it becomes emotionally draining and taxing.
In the end, I have accepted that he has Autism. While, there are days I wish he was “neurotypical”, overall, he is perfect just the way he is.
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