Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Road to Acceptance

I have a confesseion.  While I accept that Aiden has autism, and made peace with the word, the label, from day one, accepting what that actually means has been quite another journey.
Turns out the road to acceptance is long and winding.  That has come as a surprise to me.  I knew that accepting your child's diagnosis of an exceptionality mimiced the grief cycle, but I really did not expect it to be a two step dance, one step forward, two steps back.
You see, I was okay with it all, because we love him as he is, it's okay to be different, etc. etc. etc, place your own parenting cliche here.  But the reality is, every time I am made painfully aware of his differences in certain social contexts, like, say...the dreaded birthday party, I find myself back to a place I thought I had left long ago.
Sometimes seeing his through someone else's eyes hurts too.  Like if I see someone kind of looking at him quizzically I might get a blinding, stabbing pain that I wasn't expecting, because I already thought I was accepting.
Or if I'm chatting with somebody about it all, even somebody close, and they make a statement about him, it shocks me when it hurts.  No ill will was intended, it's just that sometimes I'm not prepared for other people to notice his ways of being different, if they notice it, it may mean that everybody notices it.  The sane part of me knows that he is different, plain and simple, and people are going to notice.  That same sane part of me knows that one day I will be able to handle that better, but as for right now, it stings.
You see, at 4, going on 5, we're just leaving that grace period that a tender age allows.  For so long, he was just such a verbally advanced kid, that all people noticed about him was how smart he was.  Quirky behaviours are adorable in young kids, which is oh so helpful.  But that lovely umbrella is starting to be lifted away, and I'm clinging with two firm hands.
I know that my acceptance will continue to grow, just as my love will.  I'll come to better know who he is, and someday I'll to stop wondering about who I thought he was going to be.
Because even though this road is long and winding, we're buckled in, and commited to the drive.


  1. I can very much relate to what you're feeling about this. In fact, I was preparing a post with similar thoughts, following my son beginning preschool. I've been plodding away at it for several days now, but my emotions have been running a bit high.

    I really like your blog and I'm going to add you to my blog roll. Thanks for saying hi so I could visit you over here :) Life has become so busy lately that I haven't had time to find new autism blogs to read.

  2. I'm so glad you found my blog, so that I could find yours. My sister's son has autism. I will enjoy reading your journey.

    I recently wrote one about Tyler. Maybe you already read it.

  3. So glad I stumbled upon your blog! I am also from Canada, in fact my Dad is from The Rock and many of my extended family are there. I work in the field of early intervention, am raising two spirited boys (one with Asperger's and a host of other "labels") and I too try to focus on the positive and accept my son for who he is. Stop by sometime. I am adding your blog to my blogrole!