It’s been an “aspie” weekend for Owen. He has melted down about coming to dinner and changes in plans. He is tired, he is hyper, he is unpredictable. This is typical for him sometimes. It is not fun but I get it.
A wonderful long-time friend writes about her life and her child with special needs on her blog. As a guest blogger, she wrote this entry this week. It has sparked thought about my own boy, where he is now, what his future holds.
The comparing started when Owen was just a baby. We desperately need to connect with other new moms as we figure out this little being that doesn’t come with an owner’s manual. Does your baby sleep through the night? Not mine – put one in the fail column. How many words does he speak? Why isn’t he crawling yet? (fail and fail) Crap. I have a bad case of “comparititus” where I measure worth according to others. What am I doing wrong? Doctors reassure and I am comforted. I make a choice to stop comparing and start focussing on my son’s world as it is for him. He is happy (mostly) and thriving in his own way. I let go the idea that he will ever be able to play on a team or drop in on a friend to play. We organize alternative activities.
This comparing creeps up often over the years. It is painful to see him with peers at times. He is socially unable to connect rapidly enough to make conversation flow. He is narrowly focused and it is hard to engage him in the interests of others. He grows, learns and tries to adapt but his peer group outpaces him. We are lucky enough to be in an area where he is protected from bullying and supported by his community. He is also not highly aware of how different he is and for this I am thankful.
The future is scary when I dare to compare. Will he live independently like his peers? Will he be able to have relationships? What kind of job will he be able to hold? It is all far from typical. I try to plan without comparing. It is hard, but I am hopeful.
His future will be not "typical" but I like to believe that the boundaries are largely unlimited. The growing pains are the hard part and somehow we get through them. When I think about what I hope for him, it is not that he be like everyone else but that he finds and thrives at things that he is passionate about. Passion is something he has in abundance. Some will be typical, some will be unusual, but all will come from the heart and be supported by those who love him.