A place that I can feel comfortable and safe is what I need, just like our kids. In this real world in which I live I am finding that increasingly harder to find. As we walk the path of special needs parent, I do not see that there are many inviting benches to sit at and chat along the way. Instead, there are glaring eyes, breath mumbles and that ever dreaded eye roll when they see you coming.
I strive to make this world a fun, safe and inviting place for my kids but it seems harder than it should. I search online, sometimes for hours, just for strategies to help us fit in and make a place for ourselves. Sometimes I wonder why I try so hard, then Luke asks for a playdate or why he was not invited to a party and then wonder fades….I have to help my guy fit, he wants to and just can’t. So I work so hard to help his behaviors “appear normal” I push him to sit up straight, make eye contact, try not to fall out of his chair…and then it hits me like a ton of bricks, I can not change him. I have to change the perceptions of the people around me.
So to be perfectly honest, it is me that needs the work this time. I have to accept Luke’s needs and differences and go from there. I am not going to make him into the “perfect” friend, but I can help those around me understand. I am going from not wanting to tell people about his IEP, for fear of how they might react, to scheduling a parent meeting for the kids in his class. Before I was a mom, I was a special education teacher, and a darn good one at that. I can not say the same as a special need parent. I am coming around and taking steps forward to be better.
I am thankful to have found a community of others that can understand the anxiety I feel walking into a sit down restaurant, or going for a haircut. I am going to try hard to figure this out and create a safe and loving environment and just hope that there are kind people in my son’s life who will see beyond his “quirks” and accept him. I am hoping that talking to the parents and being open and honest will help.
My biggest fear is helping my son understand and make sense of all that is going on. He does not understand why the other kids do not think it is fun to lick the bus seats, or chew on their shirts. Honestly, he is not aware of his disability and if you try to talk about it, he defends himself saying he is a good boy.
So I see our path, it may not be the one we first thought we would be on, but it is there and getting clearer. I will work hard to accept that we might not “fit in” like all the rest but we are here and we are going to make it. We will have people understand our family and realize we are fun, caring and just a bit different.