The other day, I bump into a friend after many years.
She is such a wonderful girl and we used to so enjoy hanging out but had slowly gone out of touch. We chit chat and catch up.
She touches upon some uncertain events that she has been dealing with. And how she has decided to go with the flow since things were so out of her control.
I laugh and tell her being an Autism Mama has turned me into a go-with-the-flow kind of person
I see her face change with the shock of what I said.
And I realise just how breezily I discuss R's Autism these days
It wasnt always like this.
I was very very sensitive - like a wound.
Every contact- no matter how well intentioned- hurt
When we first discovered autism - I wrote and email to my close friends telling them what we had just found out and asking for them to ignore me and pretend for my sake that they did not know what I had just told them.
These good friends did just that
But the words of other people ( well meaning though they were ) hurt so deeply
"Did you see that Larry king show" ( where the mother was taking about killing herself and her child ?)
"I read this great book - this mother stopped giving her kid cheese and he became unautistic "( thanks for letting me know )
"I used to think i had it tough .. after seeing what you are going through -- I am going to stop feeling sorry for myself "( I always planned to get to the bottom rung of the pity ladder )
"Soon they will be able to screen for autism in utero " ( ooooh lovely)
And the worst
You must really regret vaccinating your child ( I dont have a sarcastic quip for this one as this cuts so deep)
But the truth is that people are just looking for something to say.
Offer some hope!
Maybe a solution.
Becasue a lot of people want to believe there is a perfect solution
All my life I have been deeply in love with words.
So much of my childhood filled with pleading for more reading time while my mom told me I was ruining my eyes and needed to go to sleep this instant or else horrific consequences would ensue !
But being loved by R - my child of few words - has taught me to look beyond words
And so I listen patiently to this good hearted friend of mine who says things that would have wounded me so deeply 2 years ago
And I know she is trying to help not hurt
"I know there is the good autism and the bad autism .. does he have the good one ? she is going on "They cant attach - autistic kids cant"
She finally stops and says " Is he really bad ?"
"No", I smile back "he is the best"