I recently posted a picture to my social media of Haiden walking out of school on a beautiful spring afternoon. I cleverly captioned it:
It got 55 likes on Facebook and nine friends commented on it. I was feeling all warm and fuzzy like I usually do when I get so much positive feedback, support and interaction on my postings about Haiden. Then I received this message:
Now, before I get too much into my ranting rambling, let me first preface this scenario. The person who sent this is a former co-worker who has had no dialogue with me in a good three to four years. He also has no children. So to say I was caught off-guard by his sudden interjection into my parenting style is a bit of an understatement. If this had come from someone who really knows me, I might have handled the “constructive criticism” a little better.
I turned to a good friend of mine who knows this guy and asked what she thought. She summed it up pretty well with the following text:
“Ummm… sorry but that offends me. Who the hell does he think he is, saying something like that… He definitely sticks his nose in places that it doesn’t belong. Number one, Haiden would never be sad about ANYTHING you have ever posted. Everything is VERY inspiring for those who don’t understand autism and also for those who are in the same situation as yourself. Nothing is ever said in a negative manner, nor are you doing or posting anything that would make YOUR SON “sad” by any means. And as for some IGNORANT asshole to honestly message you something like that…he has some nerve…Just mean. He shouldn’t have even gone there. Now that will always be in the back of your mind, wondering who else thinks that?”
She goes on to say a bunch of other nice things to help unruffle my feathers, but she hit the nail on the head with a lot of what she said.
First and most importantly, I would NEVER do anything to hurt my kids. I have committed this whole blog to our family’s adventures in autism. Adventures. Because an adventure is defined as “an exciting or very unusual experience.” That’s what this autism trip is for us. I want Haiden to read these posts one day, I want him to know how awesome he is and that I love him so much and he’s so rad that other people want to read about him too!
Do I think it will make him sad? That would imply that I think autism is some horrible thing that has happened to my child. No, I don’t think being autistic is cause for my son to be sad. And I don’t believe that sharing stories of our autism adventure will ever make him sad, either. Autism is his super power.
I want him to know it’s cool that he’s different. I want him to know he’s not alone. I want him to know if someone calls him “weird” that that’s okay because he IS and it’s not a bad thing. I want him to embrace it. I want to build him up so he feels safe and confident. I want to cocoon and shelter him so he never gets hurt.
I worry about this kid on so many levels. Is he making friends? Will he be able to have a driver’s license? Will he have a girlfriend? Will he ever truly understand the volumes of love that I have for him?
All three of my kids are rad and are my total world. I realize how lucky I am to be their mom. Fellow special needs moms particularly need to have a forum, a safe place, to have open dialogue about the ups and downs of motherhood. This responsibility we have been given is hard sometimes. Sometimes it is thankless. Sometimes it is hurtful. We have to have a tough skin, but a soft voice. I like having a voice for others in this situation, and I love that this is a safe place for them to find solace.
When I hashtag autism, I don’t do it because it’s bad or I’m sad about it. I do it because I am proud and I want others to know that and see it. I want my son to know that too.
So for anyone who misunderstands or thinks this comes from a place other than love, feel free to unfriend, unfollow or otherwise kindly remove yourself from my sphere. For everyone else who has been so supportive, thank you. And to my fellow ASD parents, Rock On!!