Have you ever been out in public, talking to someone about your child's autism, and they give you the look. Or you run into a high school chum and when they ask you what you've been up to, and you tell them, "the autism life," and they give you that look?
You know what look I mean. The "wow, I'm so sorry," look. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to condemn someone for having a heart. But that look! It makes my stomach flip, my heart skip a beat and for a split second, makes me angry.
Hey, I'm only human.
They are my feels and they are real.
I'm not trying to knock someone for being empathetic. I mean, yes, I would much rather you have empathy for our family, than for you be afraid of us, or hate us. But, it still hurts. It's still a blow.
So I was thinking. Do me a favor. Do other autism or special needs parents a favor. Look at us with admiration. Look at my child and think, "Damn! That kid is kicking autism's ass today!" Or even, "Wow! That kid is defying Bipolar Disorder! Look at him! He's so happy. Working so hard at making the most of life!" Or hell, even tell him that.
Admiration ROCKS!!!! It might just give us or our kiddos the extra nudge we might need that day. Caffeine, sugar, adrenaline, that only works so long. Sometimes we need moral support. Sadly, not every special needs parent gets that support. BE THAT SUPPORT!
I guess what I'm saying is empathy is good, but keep it in check. Don't feel sorry for us. Some days are hard. Shit, some days I just want to crawl back into bed and cry. Some days I don't even want to get out of bed. Then I see that face. That little face that depends on me. That little face that looks to me, to help him face life. That little face that stole my heart, and taught me what true, unconditional love, really was. In the end, we're really not that much different from you. Our struggles are different, but our needs are much the same.