Out of all the things I want for my son (other than the ability to choose mommy’s winning Powerball numbers of course), I want him to experience tolerance. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that he has issues, and even though his distractingly good looks deceive (you’re welcome J.R.), his desire to ask you how many krabby patties you ate for lunch is enough to tip off even another child on the spectrum. For those who cant be convinced, I invite you to witness my husband and I having to drag J.R. kicking and screaming from a restaurant because as much as he may try, he just can not deal (okay maybe screaming is an exaggeration, how about loudly protesting he see the manager, Mr. Krabs?). On days like that, I want all the innocent bystanders to take it all in and realize that autism sucks for all parties involved, and that the crushing disorder is unfortunately here to stay. I want others to feel empathy toward the SpongeBob Squarepants adoring child and the shitty situation families like ours are in. Here’s some more fast food for thought- my eight year old son is getting bigger and stronger every day, hence his behaviors grow less socially acceptable by the second. Therefore, I pray to God he experiences tolerance as he grows in to adulthood, all the while pursuing his dream to keep the Krabby Patty secret formula safe from Plankton.
So the million dollar question is this: how is it that this mom, who quietly demands peace and tolerance for all persons who are less fortunate, can’t seem to experience (good grief I can barely type the letters out ….) a c c e p t a n c e. It’s not that I refuse to accept that J.R. has autism. I will admit though that it took me many a blonde year to understand that autism is a veil that drapes over every single aspect of my child’s being. Autism is not a cancer that can be cut out- and I know I will catch a lot of flack for this next statement, but I truly believe in my heart that children do not “recover” from autism, nor will there ever be a cure. Armed with my theories, why is it that I don’t own a vast collection of puzzle piece themed jewelry or adore the color blue?
Desperate for answers I did what every English major would do. I consulted my dictionary. For starters, my reaction to the term acceptance being defined as “the act of willingly taking a gift” went something like this: bwahahahahahahah! Autism a gift? Not hardly. No wonder I am having such a hard time. The alternate definition “agreement to pay” also brought on a few laughs. It wasn’t until I glanced at “coming to terms with something” (and it didn’t sit well), that I felt I needed to consult another source. Fast. I do have a Master’s degree in Information Science (aka library lady-ism) for crying out loud. Pinterest, here I come.
Ah Pinterest, the place I troll for quotes to steal and recipes I’ll never touch. Not seeing lots of pins on my boards you say? That’s because I take just screen shots of what really turns me on, this way I can pass the ideas on as my own. Genius! I digress. I must admit, Pinterest is just about the least depressing place to search for autism related stuff. I still couldn’t escape sifting through and tolerating (ha!) pics of DIY puzzle piece home decor (lots of wreaths!), countless autism themed tattoos (yuck!), and tacky jewelry.
It wasn’t until I noticed an illustrated quote that went something like this: the constant correcting of autistic behaviors does not cure autism. I don’t remember the exact wording (damn that’s what I get for being too proud to pin!), but I do remember feeling absolutely changed by it.
I have accepted that J.R. has autism but I haven’t accepted J.R. I know this now because roughly 90% of our interactions involve me correcting him if not at least rolling my eyes at him. Am I concerned how his autism will make ME look? I think I am! Hoping I can permanently fix him with my own inappropriate screaming? Yes ma’am!
What is wrong with me? Shit, even if I get J.R. to stop asking me where to find Bikini Bottom on the world map, it only lasts for an afternoon. And even IF I can get him to quit meowing his words a-la SpongeBob’s loyal pet Gary the sea snail, he will only be on to something else next week. Why else would I be keeping him from discovering The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Oh to hell with it, my furniture hasn’t been the same since his diagnosis anyway.
By writing this, I’m cornered. Found out. Pinned (pun intended). So now I am left to mourn the years I could have been accepting J.R. for the cool kid he is and hugging him until he passed out (hey that’s an idea). I still refuse to “embrace” autism, the awful disorder that has made me an accidental blogger, but I am determined to start holding my J.R. closer. For better or for worse he is my one and only J.R, my first-born, the beautiful product of my husband and me, and the biggest ocean-oriented cartoon fan alive. So what’s to cure again?