Monday, 10 August 2009
From: Happy Aspies
Sometimes I feel like scooping up my family and going someplace remote where we can live without all the stimulus and social pressure that living in an American suburb or city provides. I truly believe that Wolfie belongs near the water. He loves the water and is drawn to it whenever he is near it. There are so many logistical and practical reasons for not relocating. Our families are here, our network, our support. Everything we have ever done is here.
I know that for most people the practical choice is the best one. I’m not so sure that is the case for my little family. We are a family filled with impracticality and unconvention. I feel like so much of my days are spent trying to make us all fit inside this shape that was predesigned and is unmoving. This is what I dislike about the puzzle piece symbol for Autism. Yeah, people on the spectrum have a difference about them that is hard to figure out and maybe that is all that is meant by the symbol. But, I can’t shake this feeling that most non-spectrum folks would like to see ASD cured and that there is a sadness associated with ASD. Or that people on the spectrum are sick. Or that they will never fit.
The sadness I feel mostly is from the rejection that my son feels on a regular basis from his peers and many adults. It also stems from my own pressure on him to conform. This feels like such a double standard. I want him to be who he is and for that to be comfortable for him. When I really examine it, I think he is comfortable with himself. He’s not comfortable with everyone else’s view of him and our ideas. And we aren’t comfortable with him. As his parent, it is so hard to strike a balance with my own feelings and desires for him, his feelings and desires and those of the rest of society.
It is this banter that goes on in my head everyday that makes me realize that I need to create more space for him. My practicality will win on the not moving thing. But there has to be some compromise between what we expect from him and what he expects from us. And his strengths need to be put to good use regularly. In my desperation to create tools to help him do what is expected, I sometimes neglect to nurture the parts of him that make him shine and show off the beautifully, unique person he is.
I am not beating myself up, but rather taking note that the balance is off. I remember when the summer first began I had these wonderful ideas of how we would spend our days. Some of those ideas we have made reality and some have gone by the way-side.
We found a way to bring the water to Wolfie. He and my Dad created a wonderful back yard pond and waterfall for him to play with and enjoy. He uses different objects to make the waterfall look different and then swings while he studies the pattern of the water falling. Watching him do this is very peaceful. I can see the happy-go-lucky little guy I know and love so much while he is tinkering with the water.
Dreaming about life somewhere else helps me be creative with the life we have here and develop new ideas and strategies for whatever obstacles are present. I know that uprooting our family would be more disruptive than anything else because we have relationships here that are irreplaceable. I must continue to remember that the challenges we face with Asperger’s will be with us no matter where we are and the best thing we can do for ourselves is to make happiness right here at home.