The New Normal

I don't watch tv.  I am totally deficient on current pop culture.  I'm chill with that.  I have lots of ways to waste my time and get fatter that don't involve current television shows.

What I'm talking about is our new version of normal.

When our two older boys were diagnosed, it had a lot of impact.  What am I saying?  It was devastating.  I know the Aspie community hates for parents to say that.  But it would be an emotional lie to say that I didn't mind my boys having autism.  I think the key for me has been growing to love them as autistic individuals.  To acknowledge that autism is part of who they are, not a disease to be overcome.

That is not to say that I love all of their autism.  The fears, the rages, the shut down moments and hours.  And days.  The severe limitations on communication.  The susceptibility to bullying from kids and adults, including some teachers.  And the inability to tell us that.  Or even recognize that when people are doing wrong things they should tell.

So while I don't want to cure their autism, we need to develop some work-arounds for those stuck times.  Compensation for when their brains don't work the same as others.  The alternate routes (my GPS would say "RECALCULATING.")  Teaching them to be flexible enough to consider that there might be an alternate and think about what it is.  And that is part of my new normal.

Before 5 years (that would be, more accurately, before school), Isaac was normal.  At least in our lexicon of normal.  He was a little difficult.  He and his dad butted heads a lot.  He melted down frequently.  He had trouble with transitions.  But according to our usual level of functioning, he did DAMN good.

And...then he went to school.  Where it turns out that, unlike our family, not everyone is on spectrum.  Weird.  They are missing out on a lot.  And probably getting a lot more sleep than us.

To sum up 9 months in a sentence, he was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

And now?  I can't imagine what it is like to have 'normal' children.  My children are our normal.

And not having these 'normal' children has a number of advantages.  At least to my mind.

We never got those really annoying whines in Walmart for toys, at least not until Isaac.  And really he's not bad.

We're not likely to face drug use in our kids.  They have pretty rigid black and white divides in their minds.  And they've drunk the anti-drug KoolAid during Red Ribbon Week.

We're not likely to be facing empty nest syndrome for a very long time.  If ever.

We're much more aware of differences, and accepting of differences.  Which makes us better people (haha, and since this is my blog, I define better.)

We're very family oriented.  Well, since no one will watch our kids except for once or twice a month, and they are unsafe by themselves, and we can't just drop them off at the park or skating rink, that's pretty much all we do.

We don't have to go to sporting events.  Our kids are mostly happy to stay home and do the same things we like to do .  Over and over.  Of course, we've given up doing other things we like to do, because they aren't kid friendly.  But I don't really remember what they are.

And, you know, my life is pretty good.  Which means that I'm pretty happy with how it is.  Because I can either accept my life in this new normal.  Or I can whine and be unhappy about it.  I can say my kids have autism and are pretty neat.  Or I can be sad and angry that they have terrible disabilities.  I can enjoy the things we do together.  Or I can resent what I can no longer do.

Do I whine some?  Yes I do!   Does life suck some?  Yes it does!  Do I resent some?  Yes, I do!  But mostly I just keep moving along.

Mostly my life is pretty good.  And I've reached a new steady state.  Pretty normal.

Comments

  1. You sound like me! :)
    Accepting of autism, although tend to get irritated with it all, at times! Regardless of what the autism community thinks, we all have our own stories and I also went through such grief coming to terms with it... and we shouldn't be judged for this.

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