Me (out walking with my spouse a couple of weeks ago): So.
Me: What would you think if someone said – on her blog – “you know, I wish someone had told me that it’s okay to feel a little sad and worried when you find out your child is autistic”?
Spouse: Well, okay.
Spouse: It’s okay to feel sad and worried about your kid.
Me: Like, “my kid’s autistic and I don’t know exactly what that means and I’m kind of sad that they can’t talk to me and maybe they’ll never be able to.”
Me: oh and also I lied
Me: she didn’t say “sad and worried”
Me: she said “disappointed”
Spouse: (indescribable noise)
Me: I’m asking this because it seems like such a duh I feel like I must be missing something.
Me: If someone had a child who was physically disabled, how would people respond if she said, “I wish someone had told me it’s okay to feel disappointed?”
Me: Publicly said it. Like, proudly.
Spouse: Who said this?
Me: A woman who got in touch with me via my blog.
Me: She wanted me to take a look at her blog.
Me: I assumed she was autistic. I mean, the post she liked on my blog was the one about that stepmom being so mean about her partner’s autistic kid.
Me: But I guess this woman read that and thought, “Well, I’m not like that. I’m one of the good ones!”
Spouse: One of the good…?
Me: Parents. Her kid’s autistic.
Me: And a disappointment.
Me: I’m sure she’d say, “I didn’t say that! I didn’t say I was disappointed in my kid!”
Me: “I just meant I’m disappointed that my kid’s not like all the other kids!”
Me: “I’m disappointed that I don’t get to have the parenting life I assumed I would!”
Spouse: Really not sounding any better here.
Me: She knows I’m autistic! How did she think I’d feel seeing someone say that?
Me: And also – since when does having a neurotypical kid, or even just a kid who isn’t autistic but might be interesting in other ways – since when is that a guarantee that your kid will do the things she’s talking about? Have slumber parties? Have friends? Go to the prom? Get married?
Me: I’m autistic and I got married!
Me: And plenty of neurotypical people don’t!
Me: “You’re allowed to be disappointed.”
Me: “It’s okay to wish things were different.”
Me: That’s not how you’re supposed to talk about your kid!
Me: That sounds like the field trip to the theme park got cancelled!
Spouse: If the trip to Disneyland got cancelled because my mom got sick, my disappointment wouldn’t have anything to do with her. I’d just be disappointed that we didn’t get to go.
Spouse: Disappointment about people should be about what they did, not what they are.
Spouse: You can say “I’m disappointed that you took money from my wallet without asking.” You can’t say “I’m disappointed that you’re a girl.”
Me: I mean, you can. And then everyone will know what a jerk you are.
Me: …I just can’t get over the fact that she thought I’d want to read this.
Me: Did she think I’d skip the part where having an autistic kid is a disappointment?
Me: Or did she think that I’d go on and read the bit where she says that, contrary to how it may have sounded a minute ago, she actually really does love her kid, and I’d be all, “AW LET’S HUG” and applaud for ten minutes straight?
Spouse: I was wondering what all that clapping noise coming from your office was.
Me (snickering): Yeah, that was totally me.
Me: …she also talked about something called ABA. It’s some kind of therapy, I guess?
Spouse: Never heard of it.
Me: I just saw someone mention it in one of my autism groups on Facebook.
Me: They didn’t sound thrilled.
Me: Yeah. Everybody else seemed to know what it was. I’m definitely going to have to look it up.
Me (sitting typing this right now): Foreshadowing – it’s not just for fiction anymore!
2 thoughts on “I’m Disappointed In You”
((Hugs)) Well, I’m disappointed in HER. So there.
Yeah, get ready for some serious rage about ABA. Seriously, you’ll want to have some booze on hand or something.
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I don’t understand people these days. What she said was rude. I’m disappointed in her not understanding that her comment directly affected YOU.
With my first kid who was born at 28 wks gestation, I knew premature children have a higher rate of autism so I just thought, I’m deaf, if he’s autistic, I’ll deal with it like I deal with my deafness; something that is part of them but doesn’t totally define them. When he was tested, the experts said he was not autistic, but had sensory issues. Now that he’s an adult, he says he’s autistic. I accept that. We still have a great parent/child relationship (not perfect, but I think it’s great), and I accept him saying that he says he’s autistic. He also has such deep brown eyes, they almost look black. He isn’t choosing to be autistic any more than he chose the dark color of his eyes. I accept and love him that way, all the ways he is.
That’s called being a parent. I’m not perfect, but I accept and love my child. I can say the same for you, my friend. It doesn’t get much better than that. Acceptance and love shouldn’t be conditional.
And that’s all I have to say on the subject (too much)
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