Well, hello there. I see you.
I see you staring at me, and my nine year old son throwing a tantrum as if he were three.
You watch him and your face contorts as your gears turn in your head, “Is everything okay? Looks like you’ve had a long day,” you said.
These conversations always happen in a split second you know, and I’m always faced with which direction I should go.
I always want to spill my guts and confess every little tick, that my son looks like you and me, which is why the glances make me sick.
I want to confess that my bright baby boy started saying words like Dada and Mama, he sat up, played games and looked straight into a camera.
All of a sudden, just before the age of two, everything stopped…
I didn’t know what to do.
He had his own gibberish, his own language, I didn’t know how to help, I took him to a doctor and therapy, so many tests that it made him want to yelp.
At the age of three and half he was non-verbal, his baby brother spoke more words than him, that’s when a kind speech therapist asked “Has anyone said Autism?”
At first I was in shock, “NO way, not my child. He may have issues but they are quite mild.”
With a reassuring hand and internet sites to read, I came to the slow conclusion that this diagnosis was meant to be.
Then started the uphill climb, his first spoken words that brought me to tears that blurred, Oh those few spoken words.
They weren’t anything spectacular, just colors that he saw, GREEN, RED and YELLOW, I was in absolute awe.
His teachers had unlocked a treasure chest deep down in his cerebellum, that made this mom want to stand up proud and yell, “You tell ‘em!”
Then came the struggle with a new school, new teachers and staff, who had issues with how he behaved and laughed.
Laughed at inappropriate times and he didn’t understand, that laughing at someone’s misfortunes was unkind, but when dealing with autism and emotions it’s like navigating blind.
Blind to the feelings written all over that person’s face, making those around you look on with disgust and disgrace.
Pair that with sound sensitivity making a sound so sharp and shrill, that he can’t stand being around it and refuses to be still.
So here you and I are, looking down at my son, and for an instance I feel like I’m under a gun.
Should I confess all these things that have flashed through my head, should I try to make you understand that he isn’t bad instead?
With a fake upturned smile as I scoop up my son, I sigh and say,
“Yes. We have had a very long day.”