Most moms dread having “the talk” with their little boys. They dread the day when their little boy isn’t so little anymore. Well, although I’m sure I will, when the day comes, dread that talk as well. The talk that I dread most, though, is one that seems to be creeping up on me. It’s the talk where I have to tell this beautiful, blonde-hair and blued-eyed, boy, that he’s not like other kids his age. The talk where I have to tell him the reason behind his numerous therapy appointments. The talk where I have to tell my baby that he has a disability that will stay with him forever. The talk where I tell him he has autism.
He’s been starting to ask questions like, “Why do I have so many therapy days?” Or he’s saying things like,2 “I’m different/weird.” It’s so hard as a mother to see the kids not want to play with him, or the fact that he only has one friend. I know the conversation is fast approaching, and my heart breaks just thinking about it. The struggles I face in being an autism mama, are nothing compared to what my sweet baby will struggle with his whole life.
My husband and I started watching Parenthood on Netflix. In it, one of the main characters has a son who has Autism, similar to what our little boy was diagnosed with. It feels as if we are watching our life on the TV. We are laughing and crying and just holding each other because we get it. Well, there happened to be an episode where they were struggling with telling their son. The advice they got was to practice before actually having the conversation.
So here goes nothing.
My dearest son,
You are an incredible boy, with amazing skills. Your ability to memorize every fact there is to know about dinosaurs, is just one of the many things I love about you. The fact that you tell it how it is no matter what, is something to admire, when so many adults aren’t able to do that. I love that you can dance wherever you are. I love how inquisitive you are. There is nothing in this world that can ever change how I feel about you. You will always, to me, be perfect.
However, there is something about you that you need to know. It’s the reason you are so unique and special. My sweet boy, you have Aspergers, or what is now called autism. It is something you will have for the rest of your life. Nobody knows why you have it, or what causes it, just that you have it and it’s something we have to all learn to live with.
Your autism is why being in an over crowded place makes you nervous, and you act out in frustration. It’s why you have a hard time calming down, and even why you have a hard time recognizing emotions. It’s why social interactions don’t come easy for you, like eye contact and conversations. It’s why you sometimes say those funny things you say, or decide to start spinning around in the living room. It’s why you head-butt when you are over excited. It’s the reason why you are able to memorize everything about dinosaurs. Your brain processes information in a different way than other people.
So you are right, you are different, and you will always be this way. You will always have to work harder than other kids to remember how to interact with kids. You will have to work harder to control your anger and frustration. You will have to work harder doing your everyday routines.
I promise you though, we will be by your side the entire time. We will do this together, and you will never have to be alone. We will be here to calm you down when the zoo becomes too much for you. We will be here to answer all your questions. We will be there for all your therapies, and help you learn to manage and cope with autism. We are in this together.
You ARE different, but you are NOT less!!