I've had almost a month of trying to figure out where I stand with this whole thing, and honestly, I'm not sure that I'm any closer to getting any sense of inner peace and resolution from the most recent turn of events. In fact, I'm pretty sure that I am spiraling the other way. Evolution is supposed to be about moving forward, is it not? Learning and growing are essential in life, in order that we might live to a ripe old age of peace and enlightenment... or so I've been told, something like that. My friends who can find the good in everything are probably not going to appreciate that, truthfully, I'm NOT.feeling.enlightened.
I'm not sure what the hell is wrong with me. My kid doesn't have a death sentence. He's not losing a limb. We aren't living in a cardboard box. He doesn't have an incurable... well, that's not actually true. And THAT might be the crux of my problem.
I can't fix this. I can't "fix" my son. How do I deal with the fact that as a parent, we are the saviors of our children's souls, their primary caregivers, the protectors, the ones that "fix" our children's "problems?" My son has Autism. My son has Autism and I can't fix it. I can't magically take Autism away from him. He has a stigma over his head now. He's going to be looked at differently. With sympathy. With discomfort from ignorant assholes who don't see anything but a title and a character in a Dustin Hoffman movie. With denial, because truthfully, unless you were told, or someone knowledgeable of Autism, you'd never be able to see it. My son is vibrant, joyous, bold, ferocious. He conquers life with the zeal of a kid on Christmas morning. He LOVES life and loves his family, and I swear to God, I've never been in love with any human being in my life more than when Ryan pulls my face down into his, looks me square in the eye and says, "I love you Mommy."
Perhaps that's why I missed it. I didn't know what signs to look for. Ryan's problems began to surface at about two and half years old. His speech is severely stunted. He can't "attend" (hold attention) for more than 1 minute. Yet, he can sit on the computer for hours if we were to let him do it, and hyper-focuses on things like his Thomas trains, songs or rhythms, numbers or letters. He has definite sensory issues. He is almost always peripheral, socially awkward, VERY rough and tumble in play times. The near constant need to touch or to be touched, makes him come on very strong and "weird out" some kids... and their parents. Truthfully, I can't blame them. Ryan is a very aggressive kid, (standing on his head, running into walls, groping our arms, head-butting, jumping in our lap pushing & shoving, etc.) Everything he does is with intensity, including his interactions with other kids, OR, he's either completely peripheral, living in a zone that we like to call,"Ryan-land." There's no middle ground with Ryan. Hell, he KISSES hard! That being said, know that he's NEVER intentionally hurtful. I don't think the boy has a malicious bone in his body. Every intention is pure and unfiltered.
My husband and I have no doubt that with the right level of education, Ryan will go on to rule the world someday. But there is so much to sort out. The well-intentioned advice coming from EVERYWHERE, ALL AT ONCE has taken it's toll on me, physically and emotionally. I don't see anything "wrong" with Ryan, just that he has to go about things differently than most people. If anything, I sort of wonder if he's is more evolved than the rest of us. Autism looks a bit like a gift to me. Ryan lives 100% in the moment. Everything he does is with love and pure intention. He doesn't stress about things of no interest to him, but puts his entire heart and soul into what IS of interest, like computers, or music. He's an innocent. The constant need of aggressive physical attention/stimulation can be exhausting and extremely frustrating, but his strengths BECAUSE of his Autism are those that I actually wouldn't mind having in my own life. Indifference to naysayers, focus, drive, perseverance... don't we ALL want these attributes within ourselves?
I know that we will have to make some concessions for Ryan's differences. However, because the world is an unforgiving place, fixated and rigid, Ryan is going to have to be like everyone else, only better, because NOW he has a handicap that folks will expect him to overcome. This, to be completely frank, PISSES ME OFF more that I can even put into words. I don't see it. The only reason that I bring it up is because I know the thoughts are out there. I've heard it. I've SAID it. I will never say it again.
That's all I've got for now. Evolution takes time.