10 Things I like about being a parent of autism

1. My eyes are wide open to miracles. Where other people miss their child's accomplishments, my children's come so slowly and are so desired that when they happen, they are celebrated. As they should be.

2. I can delay or avoid empty nest syndrome. While other parents are getting all sniffly about their child going off to college, I am not sure if my children will EVER be able to leave home. If they ever do, I am sure it will be hard, as I have always had a hand in everything they have done. But it will be celebrated as the miraculous milestone that it is.

3. We go to the head of the line. My kid with ADHD goes through the lunch line first, because otherwise he dances around and people are clobbered by his swinging arms. And when we go to amusement parks we get those great armbands that, if Nathan doesn't rip them off, get us out of waiting for hours.

4. I don't have to go to interminable sports games and sit in the cold/heat/rain/other weather. My kids suck at the team sport mentality and are horribly incoordinated. Instead I sit interminably in therapy offices and doctor's offices. Climate controlled. While they work on skills that, I assume, are designed to make them horrendously coordinated. GO TEAM!

5. It cuts down on clutter. I can't have pictures, knickknacks or other debris in my home. Now THEY have plenty of clutter. But not me.

6. It makes me a better student of Buddhism. I am able to continuously work on my clinging to things and my ideas of permanence. Whenever I buy myself something I ask "Will I cry if it gets broken?" If the answer is "yes," I put it back on the shelf. If something is broken at home, I know it was my fault for not putting it away.

7. My children are my best teachers. They show me where I am stuck in my spiritual growth. Constantly. They show me what I need to work on to know my mind, and give me frequent opportunities to practice!

8. My children make me a better doctor. I now know what it is like to be weak, to be unable, to be less than. I know what it is like to fear that oneself or loved one will never be better again. To live in fear of the future. And now I know that if one way is blocked, it is our job to find another way. And that whining about it solves nothing.

9. Autism helps me see the future. I don't know how many times we have looked at some object and then looked at each other and said "oh my GOD, can you imagine if Nathan got hold of THAT?" And shudder.

10. Autism helps me know myself. For years I reacted in anger to my kids' limitations. I was furious at the poop smearing, thing breaking, and other shit that went on. Until I realized it was my fear that caused the anger. And it was only when I realized that that I was able to break out of the anger cycle and respond to aggression with calm.

I'm sure there are other things, but these are the first 10 that come to mind.


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