Wow, where do I start? Its been far too long since I have had a chance to log in or to write in here. SO many things have happened and I dont know where to start. . I could go into specifics but if I did, it would be a blog post with a million pages. I can sum it up this way on an emotional level for me which I think is most important.

Right now I feel like I have a better hold of who I am as a person and mama. I have always felt like I just didnt quite have the confidence in my decisions or thoughts. I felt like when I learned of my son's autism, I didnt know what programs were out there, where to start with social workers, what schools or options there were, where to turn for advice, who to confide in, who to trust in their suggestions...I felt like there were so many things but no general direction. I stepped away and tried my best to find my own way with things.

I found myself looking to my son and my son alone. I looked cautiously to other parents who also had an autistic child. I know this sounds harsh but I hear me out. I have always kept "wants" for my son separate from what I know he "needs." I know it can be hard for parents to disconnect from this. It's ok, too. I hear a lot of "I want him to be more normal when we are out in public" or "I want him to stop screaming and just tell me what he wants" or "I want him to play with other kids" etc. I know for my son, I could "want" things like this too but it was too negative for me to focus like that. I approached things as "what does he need right now," instead. I still do this. If someone were to ask me what I "want" the most for him, it would be to able to have my son living an independent life once he is an adult. It would be that he would have the confidence to love himself for who he is and not for who people "want" him to be. It would be that I "want" him to know that he is loved and never misunderstood even if he cannot express himself the way he wants.

There are strong differences between the "wants" and "needs" for my son. What I do focus on are the "needs" he has right now...today. He "needs" to learn how to work through his daily challenges. He "needs" to do this to live his everyday life. I "want" him to be the happiest person he can be. Not to have his day ruined by one transition. Or that he has to wait until I put his pants on first before he puts on his shoes. Or that he has to bathe without his shoes on. Or how we have to go outside in order to go to the car. See? These things are what I see as my "wants" for him. Not for who I 'want' him to be. I know who he is. He is a bright, beautiful, intelligent boy who makes so many people smile being around him. I dont "want" him to be anything or anyone else. I "need" him to be himself but just at a lesser stress level. I see him struggle and it breaks my heart when I see him internalize it. I never want him to feel like an outcast. I am proud of him and always will be.

This way of my thinking is what's right for me. I wont ever tell anyone that how they should process things or do things certain ways as a parent. But this way with my son, I truly accept him for who he is but I will never stop helping him in any way I can. I will always help him because I need him to be happy and to love himself. That's ultimately what every parent's goal should be, right? Not about the small things like some stranger at a grocery store glaring at you because your child is in a stroller/pushchair with a huge rubber duckie that he takes everywhere for comfort and pointing at that person's toes. Yes, it can be painful and you want to punch that person straight in the nose, but there's a higher road to take. One that has your child's confidence in mind and how you never undermine that. Hold your head high. Your child is beautiful. Really, they are. Those people arent worth your time or effort...your babe is. I would take anything for my son...including stupid people's stares or comments. I hold my head high because I never want to have my son see me upset by those people. He means more to me than them. He always will.

Assess your "wants" vs "needs" for your child. I know it can be difficult. Learn to see your child for who they are. They are autistic and being autistic is ok. Really, it is. Focus on your overall goal which should be like any other parent for any child...for them to be happy with themselves and love themselves for who they are. Not for who someone "wants" them to be. :)

Anonymous
  • What you wrote was very powerful and helpful to me. Thank you for sharing your perspective with enough detail for me to really understand.  You are so right about what really matters which is helping our beautiful kiddos to be happy and learn to love themselves. I'm on the same journey trying to help my son's do this.