B. B. Beeeeee. I'm trying to think of what to talk about for B. I sort of want to talk about Bowels but I am kind of saving that talk for P, if you know what I mean and I think that you do. Anyways. B is for Broken, I guess.
When you get an autism diagnosis, you might be tempted to think that your child is broken. Your dreams are broken, for sure, right? I always think about Mike when I see things about kids playing baseball or football or whatever. Mike loves sports and I do too, and I'm sure we had some dreams about Anthony playing sports or being talented in some athletic way.
But even if our dreams of having a son who plays pee wee football are broken, Anthony is not. And if those dreams are broken, I guess maybe they were just the wrong dreams! Anthony has therapists and teachers who love him, and who think he is so smart and wonderful and maybe if he didn't have autism, his teachers would just think he was a regular kid, not the genius that they do. His highs are so, so high, because they are LIFE CHANGING. It's like this - Maria and Veronica are toilet trained, they never have accidents any more, and I never think about it. I don't think they are GENIUSES for figuring out to pee on the toilet, and in fact, I get really mad if they have an accident, I'm like, what the hell? You can't just wake up and get out of bed and go pee? Really I have to change these sheets? But with Anthony, the fact that he just walks into the bathroom and goes is like a MIRACLE, when it happens. Because I know how hard he is working, how hard he has to work, to know that he has to go and get to the bathroom and know what to do from there. When Anthony does it, I have a great appreciation for it and I think he is WONDERFUL for doing it. If he was just a regular eight year old boy, I wouldn't think that. Everything good that he does, every forward step he takes, I think is WONDERFUL! So that's good, that's not something that I'd have if he didn't have autism.
I was talking with a friend from preschool the other day, she said her best friend in the whole world has a son who is starting at our public school, in special ed. He doesn't have autism, this kid, but he has ... is it called mitochondrial disease? I think so, anyway, he has some profound problems, it sounds like. She said the boy's speech therapist told the mom that he would never talk if he's not talking by now and I suppose that might be true, like maybe there is something I don't know, but man. That seems harsh, right? Anyway, I could see how tortured my friend was, she was trying so hard to be a good friend to her friend, the mom of this boy, and she didn't know what to do. It almost made me cry, standing there at the park, talking to her, because it took me right back to when we got Anthony's diagnosis, when we had to put him in developmental preschool, and I remembered how scared we were. It made me think, Mike and I have really come a long way, too. We have adjusted our dreams and hopes for Anthony so that they are not broken dreams, they're just different.
When Anthony was little and screaming his head off at me, and never sleeping, I remember my mom told me you can't pick your baby, and I think about it a lot. You can't, and it's a good thing. If I could pick my baby, maybe I'd pick a firstborn who didn't have autism. Maybe I'd pick a QUIETER and more RESPECTFUL second child! I would CERTAINLY pick kids who sleep better, I'd pick for Felicity to have better adenoids and not a bifid uvula or whatever the hell. But thank God, I am not in charge of every little thing. Because if I could pick my kids, Anthony wouldn't be Anthony, I wouldn't be able to celebrate all our little victories and know how smart and hard working he is. Maria wouldn't be Maria, Veronica wouldn't be Veronica and Felicity wouldn't be Felicity. And where would I be then? I don't even want to know.