Regrets and growing up

For several years after our children were diagnosed, our thoughts were full of 'might have beens.'.

'We might have been celebrating a regular Christmas, not roping off the tree to prevent a pica-afflicted 3 year old from eating it.'

'My son might have actually been invited to birthday parties.'

'My son might have snuggled with me while I read his story. And he would have said "I love you too, mom."'

If only they hadn't had autism.

But they did have autism. And I read 'Welcome to Holland.'. And hated it with a fucking passion. Because autism is not like going to a biking cheese-loving country instead of pasta heaven. Autism is oftentimes more like going to a war-torn middle Eastern country with IEDs and snipers. Or being kidnapped from your yacht in Somalia. It often sucks.

And I waited for that peace that comes from living in disability-land me and my kids now inhabit for years. And learning to be proud of every delayed achievement. Knowing how hard both of us worked to get there.

And I am proud of them and me. I am more peaceful. In a relative sense.

I am not happy in that 'pastor's wife' kind of way where I imagine saying "What a wonderful way for God to show His power through our autistic children. Aren't we blessed to have THREE of them?"

Well there is the problem of being atheist. That.

And the problem that too often I get the twinge (knife twist in the gut kind of twinge) of "Why not us?"

Why can't my kid sit at a cafeteria table with cool kids without them moving to a different table?

Why can't my kid answer questions about Abraham Lincoln without screaming and biting himself?

Why do I see pictures of my friends kids and get a gut twist of ennui?

Why can't my obviously smart kid take science (a subject he knows lots about) with his peers. Because he has reading comprehension issues.

Because he has autism.

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