Casey’s sitting in the bath. He’s just had a meltdown and he’s trying to make sense of the feelings he’s experienced.
What kind of boy is this? He’s talking about himself. He doesn’t want this.
I don’t want this.
Where do we go from here? I’ve written about acceptance, I believe in it, but I haven’t been living it. Acceptance doesn’t mean I don’t quit trying. Acceptance doesn’t mean I’m okay with his autism. It doesn’t mean that I’m happy about it. I know what it doesn’t have to mean.
But I truly don’t know what it means.
All I do know is that I have to learn to accept it. To embrace it. Or Casey won’t ever accept and embrace it fully himself. Or maybe he will. I don’t know. I just know that I don’t want to be another obstacle that Casey has in his life.
I’ve fought like crazy against the autism. I’ve hated it. I’ve cried. I’ve grieved. I’ve read. And read. And read. I’ve never thought we could cure it and I have scoffed at the notion- mostly because I have never wanted other mothers to feel the way I did- that if he’s not “cured” I’m not doing enough.
Now there’s this reason: Maybe he doesn’t need to be cured. Maybe all of the really great things Casey is he wouldn’t be without the autism. I’ve never so much as entertained that thought. Because I’ve wanted to be right. I’ve wanted to be pissed off at autism. I’ve wanted it to be only taking from him- not giving to him. It’s an easier war when the other side is completely to blame.
I need to see that his autism is not just hard. It’s not just loud. It’s not just sad. That it truly is a magical part of who Casey is. The other night Casey said, “I have blue eyes. And I have autism.” I wish I could see it just as another one of Casey’s features. I want him to see himself that way, too. I think he’s closer to being there than I am.
I just don’t know how to get there. Acceptance. What if it’s not a place? Or a thing? What if acceptance is a verb? Something I actually have to do- and keep on doing. I’m not sure.
Do you feel like you’ve “accepted” your child’s diagnosis? What does that mean to you? What do you do when you get there? Is it a happier place? Is it a place at all? How did you get there?