Monday, November 12, 2007

Names changed to protect the people whose faces I want to punch

I had an incident where someone who "cares" about my child made a snide comment about him. A person who claims to love him but won't join in the journey of walking that love out.

Now, this is an issue I have been dealing with in my life for quite some time now...this issue of the way people treat my Dirty Job. I haven't wanted to blog about it because I feel like it can so easily become a pity party that I am throwing for myself, and I want to be careful of that. I mean, I can throw quite the shindig of self-pity. Just typing this out, I have already walked to the freezer to have frozen cookie dough...twice. Because my non-victory over emotional eating is another post, I'll leave it at that. Where was I? Oh yes, self pity. It'll take over my life if I let it. But I feel like I need to process these thoughts out through the punching of the keys, so that's what I'm doing. I'd like to say it'll be my once and for all, but frankly, I'm guessing it won't be because this journey with Dirty Jobs is lifelong. And people will say dumb things throughout his life. Hopefully I will respond better as time goes on.

Here it is: Dirty Job is my son. He is my son, and he has been diagnosed with autism. He has few verbal words...and just for my own record I'm gonna list them:
keys (sounds like eeees - he's heavy on the vowel sounds)
uh huh (as in yes)
please (which sounds the same as keys)

Dirty Job also uses a handful or two of signs, points, and imitates some animal noises (he LOVES animals. even goldfish from fairs).

Dirty Job is also sensory seeking and well, a little on the active side. And by little I mean he's like an adhd kid on crack. I know because I'm his mom. And that's why I can say it. Because I say it out of love, knowing that the day to day grind is exhausting, but it's the most rewarding job I'll ever have.

Here's the thing: I know he's difficult. But I know he's worth it. He's worth every tear that my husband and I have shed and every last dime we have and will spend on helping him. He worth the hard days, he's worth the meltdowns...he's worth the effort.

All that to say this: Don't pretend like you care about us, don't say that you'll be there for us when you won't be. Please do me a favor and don't use your kind offers for help to ease your own self when you're not willing to get dirty and become a part of his world. If being uncomfortable isn't gonna work for you, then don't even open your mouth. Because you do more damage with your false support then if you didn't do anything at all. Don't say sweet things and then make comments like he's this hellion that would ruin your life if you had him a few hours.

I understand that sometimes people don't know what to say, so they say stupid things. This often happens to Cpt Mom. I'm sure I've said some stupid things to her. People don't get that having your husband in a war zone and away from you for 2 years isn't the same as your husband being out of town for a week or two. People like me say dumb things like "Time is flying by" when really, it's probably not for her. Time most likely drags on a lot of days for her. So I get that people will say stupid things. I can pardon that. Because we all do it. It becomes personal though when you make statements about my son as a person. Some of the characteristics of autism "mask" who Dirty Job really is, so you have to pardon some of his behavior to get to know him. I'm not saying we excuse his every bad deed. We don't. He sits on timeout at least a few times a day. It's just that you have to put yourself in his place and realize how difficult it must be to have words inside that you can't communicate. To have such sensory processing deficiencies that even when I lay on top of him it doesn't hurt him, but rather meets a need. Dirty Job has some pretty amazing things going on underneath all of that stuff.

He has the brightest smile I've ever lights up his entire face. He loves to laugh and rough house and play with animals. He thinks toothpaste is the best thing on the planet. He loves Word World, Super Why, and Sesame Street. He knows his colors, shapes and goodness knows, he knows his animals. Probably in record number. He tries to be gentle, but is sometimes quite mischievous. He is in love with Major Hunk's truck. He waves hi to many people and has definite favorites. He starts each day full ready to tackle it head on. He has an incredible imagination and some rather amazing blue eyes. He's completely charming (I know, a mother's bias) and God is using him in profound ways at not even 3.

So I guess I have a lot to learn as we walk this road of parenting a child with special needs. I need to store up grace for those who don't know better, and even more importantly, those that do know better. I need to see the joy in every success, because others will see none. I need to be quick to point out the positive, because others will point out the bad. I need to set good boundaries that grow our family unit and I need to let my children be exposed to some hurts and disappointments, so they learn that only the Lord is perfect.

I will not lose my hope.


CPT Mom said...


First of all, let me congratulate you that the story didn't end with someone being punched in the face.

Secondly, let me encourage you that you are the BEST mom there could ever be for your Dirty Job. He is one joyful little boy and he brings much joy to my life!!

Thanks for sharing your family with us!

And lastly, I am so glad you are able to share here. I am so glad that others can see you and your family for the beautiful people you are through your transparency.

I love you, friend!