A Mommy Blog About Raising Men, Not Boys.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

But I Don't See Them That Way

I'm probably too sensitive about the twins. Would it stun you to know that when I am with them, large stretches of time will pass where I forget that they aren't "typical"? To me, a lot of the time, they're just babies.
Great big, five year old babies.
We were at the grocery, pushing our two five year old babies around in carts, buying soda pop, and the 7 year old was babbling on about Star Wars and I saw a woman looking at the twins with a doting smile. She catches my eye and says "Oh how old are they?" I answer that they are five.
And then she says "Are they on the Spectrum?"
This is when my heart wrenches out of my body.

Yes, I tell her. They are both autistic. She tells me they are so cute, and we talk about their degree of disability. I learn she also has a son on the spectrum AND she teaches autistic children at a nearby school. She meant no harm or disrespect. She was very kind.

But I hate it that people notice.

I hate it for THEM and for me. I don't want you to see their disability. I want you to see that they hug and kiss and know all their abc's and numbers and that they CAN INDEED talk....they just don't quite understand it. I want you to see them greet me with total enthusiam when I walk in the door and the way they snuggle into my arms if they are sleepy during family time at the end of the night.

I want you to hear them laugh hysterically at Grover and at the Teletubbies.
THEY ARE JUST CHILDREN. They are not their disability.

At a recent meeting of our local support group - a parent described finding out their child was autistic as "losing" that child. At first I felt I understood - but in fact, all we lose is our IDEA of what they will be. When in fact, we never knew to start with what would become of them.

Our children are not who we think they are and will not be who we think they will be whether typical or not. And even though my beautiful twins were diagnosed with Autism this year....I didn't lose them. All this means is that their possibilities shifted - but not dissolved.

I don't see them as disabled. I just see them as who they are. I have to wait to find out who they will be.


Chestnut Rau said...

I found this blog and have been quietly engaged ever since.

Reading this post makes me want to hug you and invite you over for coffee. I think you are an amazing woman and a fantastic mother.