I find it very difficult to share the deeply personal situations that go on in our lives. I have shared this before and though I am trying to learn to do this because I know there is usually someone out there who can benefit, but I have to be honest, it’s still a pretty big challenge for me. But, here I am, holding my head high and reaching out for suggestions and thoughts from you… my readers… because I am in an area that I have tried to deal with and I am not really having any success.
My son is 9 years old. He was diagnosed on the autism spectrum at the age of 4. He is, as I have written about previously, normally a fun loving, intelligent, creative little guy that loves animals, Lego, video games, books, sports and so many other things. He has shown me a different way to look at the world and has taught me many important life lessons… including tolerance. He has an amazing little group of friends that are so treasured, by him and me. I truly wouldn’t change him for anything.
Now, we have had our struggles, but what parent and child hasn’t? However, we usually work through them and come out the other side with flying colours… this time it’s not going so well.
You see, at 9 years old, he has become extremely sensitive to the fact that he has autism. Previously we have embraced autism and celebrated those things that make him ‘different’ as these are the things that make him unique and who he is. He’s been proud of who he is and what he has done… as he should be. Mom has been, and is always proud of what he does and who he is becoming.
As I wipe a tear from my eyes, I think about this little boy of mine who is now struggling with who he is. He HATES the fact that he has autism. He HATES the fact that he is ‘the complete opposite of everyone else in the world’, as he puts it. My heart breaks when I hear him say, ‘Mommy, I don’t want to have autism anymore!’ which is usually followed by tears and him saying that he doesn’t ‘fit in’ anywhere. We have talked about his strong points and we have talked about the wonderful characteristics that he has that makes him different. He uses the term ‘NORMAL’… which makes me cringe… and I have tried to explain that no one is ‘normal’ and if we were all the same than this world would be a very boring place. In our house… NORMAL is a setting on the dryer.
My son is only 9 years old! Society has created this ‘model’ that people are supposed to fit into and hearing a child at 9 years old say that he doesn’t ‘fit in’ is hard to hear. Why can’t people understand that trying to ‘change’ our children and loved ones only makes it harder for them. Maybe society does understand that… and they just don’t care!?! I don’t know anymore! What I do know is that I have a little boy that no longer wants to be who he is… and as a parent it is the hardest thing that I have had to deal with thus far. My heart is deeply saddened… and right now, I don’t know what I can do to help him aside from loving him and being there if he wants to talk… but I am certainly open to suggestions.