Ten years ago I was excited, nervous, and dreaming of what my first born child would look like. By this time, I already knew that TechyDad and I would be having a little boy. We spent a long time getting things ready for NHL’s arrival. When he was born, I would spend hours simply looking at his adorable little face sleeping. There were no cares, worries, or problems that I could not fix.
During those days, my wish for NHL was simple. I wanted him to grow up healthy, be strong (physically and emotionally), use this brain for good things, and be the best he could be in whatever career he wanted.
Now, I sit here with very different wishes for my son. That original life goal is still there and I know he will get there as an adult. These days I have new wishes that crop up daily. You see, I am an autism warrior parent. Each and every day, I get up I have to worry about my child and how the world around him will understand, accept, and work with him. Our journey to an autism diagnosis was not easy and, being naïve, I honestly thought it would help a lot. As a parent, it has helped me to understand how my child sees the world. As an advocate, it has made the hill we have to climb with society steeper.
After taking the kids to school, I was reflecting on new wishes that I have these day. Some are hard to type and admit, while other are sad that I have to even acknowledge them.
- that I could take all of your worries away. No matter how big or how small, I wish I could make them all vanish so you can be a kid and enjoy everything around you. Whether they are caused by people, places, things, noises, or other items I would make them vanish if I knew how.
- people would understand how literal you are. Sarcasm is a language that is foreign to you and may never be something that you understand. This is not a bad thing, just a fact that explains a lot.
- others could understand that a smirk and laughter does not mean that you are planning something. 99 percent of the time this shows us that you are starting to worry and panic about something. This is a sign for those around you to check in and see what is wrong, not to yell/scream/taunt/threaten or punish you.
- peers could be educated to understand autism. Knowledge is power and if they knew I am guessing they would be little advocates helping you along the way, especially when you get so worried about certain things.
- I could stop others from bullying you. Whether perceived or really happening, you feel this and it makes you sad, anxious, and upset.
- everyone could understand that what you do is not acting out, it’s because you are wired differently. This does not mean in a worse way. It simply is who you are and makes you the sweet child and unique young person that you are becoming. At nine, your strategies to cope are limited and the adults in your life need to work as a team to help you with this.
- there were many more calm days and that the world did not seem so hectic to you. I can not even imagine trying to figure out the crazy neuro-typical world that we all live in from your perspective. I promise to help and guide you and be your biggest advocate no matter what.
Yes, these are the items that race through my head each and every day. These are the reasons we take it one day at a time and keep on swimming. No doubt these are similar things that other parents of children with autism face and then some every day of their lives.
Now I must push forward and help my child to reach for the stars and not to settle. I simply will not let him give up on that one wish that I had almost ten years ago.
Disclosure: The Autism Awareness ribbon icon above was created by Melesse and comes from Wikimedia Commons.