So Funny I Forgot To Laugh

“God sure does have a sense of humor!”                                                                                                    I have heard this phrase many times throughout my life, but only recently began to understand how funny he really can be.

Sometime in my early to mid 30’s, when I was contemplating if I ever wanted to have kids, I remember telling my mom something in a half true/half joking manner.  You know, when you are joking but deep down you are a little serious? I said to her “Hey, I have an idea–why don’t you take my firstborn for his/her first few years of life, then I’ll take it from there.” I realized at that moment that I was not ready for that newborn phase, when that little, precious gift was so dependent on you for everything.

I had personally struggled in my early years on finding my own independence, and I had finally achieved it and LOVED it. After a divorce, completing my masters degree, moving to a new city without family, finding a good job all on my own, and getting married to a man who allowed and encouraged me to be strong, my only option was to be happy AND independent. However, I was also a little selfish.  Thinking about that possible little ‘bundle of joy’, I couldn’t imagine not being able to sleep in on the weekends, to not be able to watch TV when I wanted, or to go on last minute romantic trips with my hubby. Basically just not being able to do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. It was not only my selfishness that was pushing me away from having a child, but also the shear dread that this person was going to be dependent on me for EVERYTHING.

I had always viewed dependence in others, especially women, as weakness. This was why it was so important for me to rid myself of my own dependence. I know a child doesn’t have any other option but to be dependent, but this fact was not appealing to me. I remember throughout my life I would cringe when I heard a mom whine about how sad she was that her children were growing up, or how depressed she was going to be when her children moved out of the house and away to college. I would always want to say , “Are you kidding me? I will dance the happy dance when my child moves out of the house.” Then, of course, their response would be, “Oh, you will change your mind when you have kids. You will want them to stay little forever.”

Fast forward to having my one and only child. I was excited to be a mom, but more excited to get past the newborn phase. I would cry almost daily, wondering ‘why is he crying? Is he hungry? Is he tired? Is he in pain? When will he sleep through the night?’ I hated the guessing game. When I complained to my friends and family about this part of raising a child, they would say, “Don’t worry, soon enough he will be able to talk and tell you what is wrong, and next thing you know, he will be getting himself out of bed and making his own breakfast so you can sleep in.”

My son is almost 4 and I’m still waiting.  I’m still waiting for him to tell me what is wrong, or what he wants to eat, or if he’s tired. I’m still waiting for him to let me sleep in. I’m even waiting for him to sleep through the night.  And I hate it—just like I knew I would. I not only hate it for me, since I am still that selfish, independent woman, but I hate it more for him. I hate that he gets so upset when I don’t understand what he is trying to tell me. I hate that he cries for long periods of time and I have no idea how to help him. I hate that he may never be able to make his own breakfast, let alone not need any assistance to eat his breakfast.

Most days I hate his autism, but I never hate him. He is the only reason I am able to live with my biggest fear being my reality. He makes me see that anything is possible. I do, however, still wonder why those women who never want their children to grow up don’t end up with the children who may never get the chance to. And, the one woman who wanted their baby to leave for college yesterday may never see that day. Even though I am not laughing now,  maybe it is just God’s sense of humor.  Maybe it’s his way of strengthening those weaknesses within us. I may never get to dance that college happy dance, and I may never get to feel that independence again. But, maybe just maybe, I will get something even better in the end.

Why Is Your Son Autistic?

I have been asked this question a few times. Why do I think my son ended up with autism? Well, if I had the answer to why anyone has autism, I wouldn’t be writing this right now, and I would probably be really rich. And, my son would probably not be autistic. I don’t mind getting asked this question, because I know they mean well, but I obviously have no idea.

Everyone has heard all the “theories” as to why autism exists. Is it a disease or a disorder? Is it neurological? Is it from those damn GMO’s or the vaccinations, or both? Is it really just a ‘gut’ issue, and they just need a really good probiotic, or a gluten-free diet? Or maybe just some essential oils will do the trick to somehow stimulate those brain waves. Or, maybe if those “old” people would stop having babies, there would be no autism.

Obviously, I have no idea where it comes from, but we all have our theories. I could give you my hypothetical opinion, but it would be just that…….an educated “guess”. It is, however, a fact that very young people have autistic children, so there goes that idea. It has also been proven time and time again that vaccinations have NO correlation or causation of autism, yet people still refuse to vaccinate their children. I could go on and on, but I won’t.

You can also look at the other side of “why”. The philosophical and somewhat biblical theories. Without getting into religion, why would God allow this to happen to me? What is the reason I ended up with this challenge? You would be surprised, but there are many different theories on this, too. For instance, I don’t dwell on the “why” as much as my husband does. I look at is as “well, I guess for some reason, God wanted this for me.” Maybe those few terrible things I did throughout my lifetime…….I’m finally getting my karma. And I’m good with it. Not so good with the struggles I go through on an hourly basis, but good with the “punishment”, so to speak. Let’s move on and deal with the situation at hand. Maybe in the long run I will be a better person, and that’s what was meant for my life journey.

My husband, on the other hand, is still stuck in “why.” He feels he has been so good his whole life that he should be rewarded and not challenged. He didn’t do anything to “deserve” this. I can very well respect his view. However, I can’t say the same because I have not been the saint that he has.

Nothing is right or wrong from these particular perspectives.  I do, however, think that the more positive you try to be, the more positive your relationship with your child and the more positive the grueling journey. Is this easy? Hell no. But this is what I try really hard to focus on. I can’t control the reason he is autistic, and I’m finding that I also can’t control the cure, no matter how hard I try. But, I can control how I handle the situation, regardless of the “reason.”