My son Judah is beautiful. He’s part odd, part fantastical and part me. He’s a little bundle of magnetic love that somehow manifested itself into a human being and chose me to be his Mommy, for which I’m eternally thankful. He had rewound me back to the time before I was some socialite / model to a place when I was a more proud and driven Mother. You don’t realize you lose aspects of yourself until they somehow reappear inside of you and you grasp hold of them, pulling on their elasticity until they securely encompass your nature. Judah had given me a window in which to see that I was already the better part of me; anything else was insubstantial.
I kind of got off track lately. I have had concerns like all other Moms have concerns. Judah isn’t speaking at the expected age and is more purposefully using parroting speech to express his desires. In this I mean he’s using our phrases in concepts rather than using his own. So I had went into looking for assistance, we have had this language barrier for awhile that had caused some rough spots for all of us, frustration in all of us, but what I found just made me sad really.
You see, I don’t think there is anything wrong with my son and his oddities. He likes to play the same games constantly without end and we generally have a scripted life to which we’ve lived for quite sometime and we’re pretty used to by now, but this is just the way our life is. We’re scheduled, we are all on some odd 2nd shift and maybe we tend to speak in our own lingo sometimes, but the difference is our normal. So when I called to talk to some particular people, counselors and the like about the speech issues so we could more effectively communicate, I get people who sound sorry for me. They want to apologize, to tell me ‘everything is going to be okay’ or ‘I’m not alone’. I have even had family members want to pray for him and I’m literally stumped. I tend to respond with, “There is nothing wrong with him.” I don’t think they understand what I mean and it’s frustrating.
Some people look at a lot of these autistic spectrum traits as problems that must be resolved, prayed for in the realm of sickness, things to “fix” to be able to normalize. I know in some cases, some very disabling cases, this may be true, but what about parents like me who are perfectly happy with their children the way they are? I look at him laughing, playing, joking around with us every day and I think to myself, what if the problem is really the way I’m thinking about this and going about getting help. I don’t want people thinking he’s something that needs to be fixed, I want people that embrace him for who he came into this world being and help him help himself with the skills he has available to him. He’s incredibly smart and he picks up things fast, it just takes a little bit of getting used to new things for him to catch on.
So my husband says to me last night, “There is no one that is going to be able to help Judah better than we can.” At first I am stumped, I think, “What are you talking about, I don’t even know what I’m doing?” Then I got to thinking, of course I know what I’m doing I’ve been doing it all along. I just read so many cases that I get to feeling I am incapable as his Mother to help. Is that how everyone feels when they notice different things about their children? Do we all just lose our prideful capabilities as parents of our children when faced with something outside of the norm?
I lay in bed late thinking until I decided my husband was right. We’d already helped so much. What does it matter if we take the slow route to get to the point where he can effectively answer, “What’s the matter?” He just likes taking the long road. Who cares if he doesn’t know how to play with toys the “normal” way, he thinks outside of the box. And you know? To our benefit we never have had to worry about issues with bedtime, he’s more than happy to go to sleep. We’ve never had issues with the bath-time, as he’s more than happy to have his ‘rubber ducky time’, he never asks for anything in the store and never minds if we leave somewhere he enjoys. He’s just happy to be a part of whatever is going on at the time as long as he knows it’s coming.
I learn something new about being a Mom every day with both of my children, but Judah teaches me consistently that I’m stronger than I think and I have a tenaciousness that sometimes I’m not always aware of. He teaches me that I worry too much about what others think and that there is no normal ratio in which to be. We just are, beautifully and sometimes as fragmented, as the way we came into this world.
I decided not to call back. I really don’t want to put him through psychologists, neurologists, psychiatrists and what not to see if perhaps he’s on another spectrum outside of normal. He is where he is, sometimes I think he’s on a better spectrum than me as he tends to fascinate me with his memory, but no matter what his differences are there is nothing wrong with them. There is nothing to fix and nothing to be sorry about.
This does not promote not going to a doctor if you believe your child may not be developing properly and/or may have disabilities. I had done this and there is no wrong in asking for help. This is just in response to how I’ve been feeling lately in regards to all these phone conversations I’ve had and the realization that I’m paying more attention to his differences than to him. To be a better Mom and to better help him I need to let go of these things that are unimportant at the moment.