I have had several conversations lately with people whose ASD children are a little older than Ollie. I really enjoy seeking the perspective of those who are a few years further ahead in the craziness that is having a child on the autism spectrum. The wisdom that people have imparted has been and will continue to be invaluable. There is, however, something that often comes up that worries me.
So many people are terribly jaded. It is as if every day is a battleground, a fight against the general public. The school yard is full of other parents who are to be feared and loathed, no one understands and everyone is the enemy. It is us versus them.
People keep telling me that I will lose my optimism, my positivity, my belief that people are generally good. That in ten years time I too will feel the anger that they feel. That I'll be one of them. That I'll walk in to the school yard full of hatred for the other parents, the parents of 'normal' children. That I will sit at home seething about all of the parties that we aren't invited to, all of the friends that Ollie isn't making, and all of the fun we are missing out on.
No. Just no.
I refuse to believe that I will feel that way. It won't be me. I will continue to believe that people are generally caring and good. Recent experience has shown me that yes, people say stupid things, but I don't believe that they are coming from a bad place. They just don't know what the right thing to say is. If we continue to be defensive and oppositional then they will never know the right way. All they will learn is to stay away.
Maybe Ollie won't be invited to all of the parties, but me being a first rate bitch in the school yard isn't going to help that any, is it? Sure, he is going to have difficulties with making friends, but that won't be the fault of the other parents. That is something inherent in people with an ASD. Hating those who don't have the same problems isn't going to change that. His life is going to be different, but not less.
I am by nature optimistic and positive. I like people. I believe in people. I also believe in myself and I won't let anyone take that away from me. This is how I am going to stay. I promise myself that.