We took the kids to a Children’s Museum over the weekend. Oh, before I get there … Let me introduce you to the kind of Mom I am. (Or want to be. You know Autism doesn’t usually fit into our plans). I make home cooked meals for dinner even during the week. I make Easter Eggs, I do the whole Santa thing, I take my kids to the park and go down the slide with them. I’m constantly looking for new places to take them and for new things that they can experience. I do arts and crafts projects at home. I give out lots and lots of hugs and kisses. I want to raise well-rounded, happy children. I want them to look back and say “I had a really happy childhood”. I want us to have fun and do lots of family things together and oh yes have lots of pictures to remember all this by. I don’t have a close relationship with my parents so more than anything I want my children to know that I love them with all I have and that I tried to be the best possible Mom. It is important to me that they know they are worth all the hard work that parenting is, but I don’t want them to feel like I think it’s hard work. I don’t ever want them to think they are a burden or an obligation to me. I want them to feel the joy that I feel being their Mom.
OK … So we went to a Childrens Museum over the weekend. I am fairly new to this whole Autism thing. We got the official diagnosis about 8 mths ago. I don’t know any other kids who have it. I don’t know any other Moms who are struggling with the same things I’m struggling with. It’s just kind of been us in our own little Autism world. There are a couple kids in Jay’s class who have Autism but I’ve never met their parents since they get bussed. I have never spent any time with the children except to say hi in the morning.
At the museum, as my children were playing in the train area (shocker), I watched a little boy walk up to the table and begin to play with the trains. He was about 3 yrs old. Everything about him reminded me of Jay. The way he got extra close to the trains. The way his dad was trying to take his picure and he would glance up and ever so quickly look away again. The way he didn’t seem to notice that lots of things were going on around him. I caught myself staring at him. I’d never seem him before but I knew this kid. I ended up talking to his Mom as the kids played and the topic of Early Intervention and not talking and Autism came up. It made me sad for her. For all the plans that she may make and then the day won’t pan out the way she hoped. For all the pictures she wants of a happy smiling family but won’t get. (Sound silly? Well, to Moms like me it’s not.) For all the times he threw a tantrum in public and other parents looked at her with judgmental eyes or worse, actually said something to the effect of “if that were my kid I’d … “ I actually had someone tell me once that if I didn’t do something with my son she would. It made me sad that Autism is so prevalent. It made me sad that there are so many families dealing with this. After that I saw 2 more children throughout the day and without speaking a word to their parents I knew those children as well. I made a point to smile at the parents. I couldn’t help but feel protective towards their children. I love my Jay and some of his quirks are so cute and funny and without Autism he wouldn’t be the exact same Jay that I love today but it still makes me sad.