I find it funny that other parents who hear or notice that I have a child with Autism get emotional. They try to empathize, or feel sorry for me, and often wonder how it is we as parents manage to function with a child on the Spectrum. The truth is, we don't know, because we don't know any different,
I'm writing this post after thinking about perspectives. My train of thought ran thusly:
1. A picture of the Utah desert, with it's beautiful sandstone formations and Delicate Arch.
2. A flashback to a picturesque scene of a desert in China from a favorite movie.
3. Now wondering if one could tell the difference, particularly if only given an artistic close up shot of the sand.
4. A realization I had after living in Germany for a couple years: people and places are basically the same wherever you go.
5. Does that apply to parenting?
You see, I adhere to the old Stoic philosophy that nothing in life is unbearable, and that our trials are individual in that they happen to us and not someone else. Should we receive a trial or stumbling block, we adapt to the changing circumstances as best we can by learning and adjusting.
As such, while other parents complain of very talkative children that tend to say too much, we are eager to hear any word from ours. While other parents are worried about performance in school and doing homework, we concern ourselves with repeatedly teaching our son life skills so he can function as a normal adult when he grows up. It's all about the perspective.
So, for this reason, I don't consider myself an overly tried parent. I have very well behaved children that occasionally melt down at inconvenient times, but otherwise are loving and excited to see the world. I look for the positive side of his gifts with his natural mechanical mind and quick grasp of just about any concept (though I would like it if he didn't try to challenge those concepts for validity quite so often).
Now, there are many parents out there who have a child on the spectrum at is more severely challenged than my son, and I realize that. My problems are my own, and I wouldn't want to wish them on anyone else, nor would I want anyone else's problems. My focus is on my family and their welfare, just as anyone else's focus should be on their families. My trials are my own, and for that I am grateful. To have to deal with the trials of other families on top of my own might stretch my abilities.
But then, “Nothing happens to any man which he is not formed by nature to bear" (Marcus Aurelius Caesar).