I am not just a mom… I’m a police officer, detective, analyzer, mind reader, bodyguard and more. I worry every second about the unwritten rules of social interaction because my daughter on the autism spectrum does not understand them. She’s very genuine, has no filter and now can speak from her heart (she couldn’t five years ago). In a different world, her expectations of life, her reactions to the simple beauty of the universe would be so welcomed. Not in our world.
Today at the pool in the apartment complex, I try to get her to understand she was not invited to a nearby birthday party. I use strong loving words. She says, “OK, Mommy” but still she wants to go explain to the kids why she was not invited. I divert her attention to something else and prepare myself for the possibility of a meltdown.
This time, no meltdown, no extra energy spent. Relief. She is finally in the pool, and she wants to interact with the kids. She asks all of them, “Can I play with you?” They all say no. She yells, “Mom, they don’t want to play with me.”
I say (with a broken heart, like a broken record), “Honey, it happens, and you just have to keep trying.”
Out of desperation, wanting to get someone’s attention, she tells one of the boys, “I want to marry you!” She’s 8 going on 15 at this moment.
The boy runs and says, “This girl is crazy!”
She’s relentless and runs after him reminding him what she’s just proposed. She looks at me with the slyest smile — I understand, she’s targeting him to have fun and to remind him girls rule. And to remind me her label, diagnosis, challenges will not stop her relentless spirit and desire to be one of the kids. I am so proud.
So, dear parent of a kid without a label, talk to your kid, answer their questions, eliminate the existing fear of the unknown. More than anything, let them know my kid is not “weird,” my kid is not “crazy” and my kid is not “a pain.” My kid is just a kid, like yours.