Friday, April 26, 2013

I wonder what it would be like to live like a normal family....

When you only have one child, and that child is on the autism spectrum, you throw normal out the window pretty early on in your life. I only have one boy, I haven't got a clue what it might be like to raise a child that is "typical", and I sometimes wonder, what would we be doing differently if our son was not on the spectrum?

One thing that I see friends with typical children doing, that I'm frankly envious of, is the incredible social interaction their children get to have.  Sleepovers, visits to friends houses, hockey games, etc.  Our son has a few friends, he is VERY social for a child on the spectrum, but his chances to meet and interact with other kids are limited.  He has his friends at his very small private school, he has cousins, he has friends that are kids of OUR friends....but he doesn't just get to go out on the playground and meet people.  He tries, and every once in awhile he will come home and tell me about someone new he met at the park (we live right behind a park, so he goes over there quite often on his bike, and tries his best to interact with the other kids on the playground.)   For the most part that goes pretty well, he sometimes joins in a game of tag or "grounders", he plays on the swings, he INTERACTS.  But he doesn't really get the opportunity to make LASTING friends, all on his own.  That is something that is very hard for him to do, and something I pray will come easier to him as he gets older.

Recently something came up that has me feeling a bit sad, and wondering if things might be different if our son was "typical".  We have a family wedding coming up, and he is invited. The problem is, he doesn't want to go.  He wears nothing but sweatpants and t-shirts (shorts in the summer) he can't stand zippers, buttons, etc. so the thought of getting dressed up in a suit has him totally stressed out.  He has such weird eating issues, the only thing that he will eat when we are out somewhere is french fries, not likely to be on the menu at a wedding.  And I just can't imagine him sitting through A) the church ceremony, or B) the speeches!   I do think he would enjoy the party afterwards, and even thought that maybe we could bring him, and he could come only for the party, but so far he doesn't seem interested at all.  The wedding is not in our town, so we would have to find someone to watch him for 2 nights (think we can do that with family members) but part of me is feeling very sad that our family can't participate in something that is a very FAMILY thing to do.  The wedding is my cousin's daughter, 4 cousins that I don't get to see often enough and who haven't really gotten to know our son except through facebook interactions.  I want so much for him to go and meet everyone now that he is so much older (he saw most of them last the year he was born!)  but I know that it won't be a comfortable situation for him.

I suppose this is just a part of life that I have to accept, and let's face it, maybe I'm overreacting, maybe families of typical 12 year olds face these very same problems!    But times like this are one of the few times that I wonder what life would be like if not for Autism!

And coincidentally, it is Autism Awareness month in April!  This is my version of an autism awareness bracelet, They are $25, $10 from the proceeds of the sale of each bracelet is donated to an organization that supports children on the spectrum.  See my Etsy shop for details.

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Julie Sparks said...

I get it. I wonder all the time about things like that. The hubby and I frequently say to each other "what do other people do for fun?" As for clothes, if he is still in boys sizes Land's End has elastic waist "dress slacks" and maybe a dressy t-shirt? Maybe you could bring your own food and try? Hugs.

Alicia D said...

I get it too! BTW your jewelry is beautiful :)

Sylvia Phillips said...

I know exactly how you feel, unfortunately. My daughter's only friend is her respite worker!
My own son is getting married 5 hours away. There is absolutely no way Bethany would ever be able to or even want to attend. But she thinks she wants to! So I will feel guilty leaving her at home. We will leave early, stay a couple of hours, and head back home so that we won't be gone overnight! I want to go and I don't want to. It's torture! I just wish we could all go like a normal family!

Anna the Flutist said...

Probably mundane, but peaceful, but mostly mundane.

Sonya said...

That bracelet is beautiful!

My nephew is on the Autism Spectrum. He is very high functioning but it is still a daily struggle.

Hang in there!