Thursday, January 12, 2017

Square Pegs

Square pegs...the short lived Sarah Jessica Parker TV show or people who don't fit in?  Usually my first thought when I hear the term is SJP.  I loved that show.  I spent my high school years in the middle.  I wasn't super popular nor was I tortured for not fitting in.  I just kind of floated along. It was a great experience.  To tell the truth, when I look back on my time in school, I don't remember being too worried about fitting in.  I can remember REALLY wanting a Swatch watch and Guess jeans but I don't recall feeling like I had to work overtime to try to fit in.  I was pretty comfortable with who I was, as I recall.

That's what I want for my boys. I want them to be comfortable with who they are. I want them to feel secure in the fact that GOD created them on purpose, for a purpose and in his own image.  

Yesterday, two sweet friends posted an article on Facebook titled, 5 ways to damage autistic children without even knowing.  It's well written by a former teacher who has Asperger's. In the article, the author recognizes that all children can be damaged in these same ways but it is especially prevalent for autistic kiddos.   

I think B first became aware of the word autism when we went to Universal Studios a few years ago.  While inside the park, we used a disability pass to avoid waiting in long lines and to get him a stroller.  Both things helped him enjoy the park more and we were grateful for the accommodation.  Two mornings of our trip we had early morning breakfasts in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  Both mornings, B struggled.  I would hold him and try to sooth him as we stood in line for breakfast. Both mornings people would comment.  Both mornings my momma got mad.  She wanted people to stay out of our business.  I didn't mind telling people that B was autistic and a little overwhelmed.  I have never wanted to hide his autism from him or others. I want to help people understand him better.

During the trip, we were walking to dinner when B asked "What is autism?"  My eyes grew wide and Ryan and I exchanged a look.  We weren't really prepared for this. We hadn't discussed what we would say.  After a minute of thinking, I told B "Autism just means that your brain works differently.  It's not the same as other people's brains." 

You can image my heartbreak when B then asked me, "Is autism bad?" I immediately told him "NO! Autism makes you awesome!"  We want B to be comfortable with who he is.  Autism is a part of who he is.  It's not all of him but it's an important part.  

Autism can make B seems like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole.  

Right now, it's my job to guard against B being damaged by other people trying to fit him into a round hole. That's every parent's job, really, to protect their kiddos.  It's also my job to teach him to protect himself.  Yes, he will need to learn to advocate for himself.  

I am not saying that anyone is currently trying to damage my square peg.  But I am on my guard, on the lookout.  No one is going to damage my peg, if I can help it!

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