When we were going through the “is he Autistic or not?” year( aka 2013 the worst year in our lives) we faced so many uncomfortable social events. Some with family, some with friends all sharing a common theme… unease and discomfort. We didn’t want to talk about the possibility that Blaze was Autistic. Maybe it was denial, maybe it was confusion. Whatever it was it was painful. I remember one night on the way home from a get together of some sort I said to Alan “ I just wish for a day when we can say he is Autistic and have it be part of the conversation.” Alan wholeheartedly agreed. We didn’t want to jump the gun and say what was going on with him until we were sure. I would tell people close to me “we think Blaze may be Autistic but please don’t say anything to anyone.” At first I would cry when I told people. Over time, as we became sure and after we met with the developmental pediatrician I was slowly able to say the words without getting choked up. Then there was a day last year when I stood up in front of 20 of my coworkers and told them all that my son was Autistic. No “please don’t say anything” ,it was the first time that I had ever said it out loud without the plea for privacy. It was liberating. I had said it… finally!!! It took me so much to get up there and say it but that was the first step in my journey of “owning it.”
Then came this blog, another step in the direction of our dream of just having it be part of the conversation. I want people to know who my baby is. There is nothing to hide and no reason for anyone to guess what he is all about.
Most recently we have found our wish came true… we now can talk about Blaze being Autistic as part of the conversation. In the past couple of weeks I have been at a couple of birthday parties and have had conversations where I casually mentioned “you know he is Autistic, right?” Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. Either way I don’t flinch. It has become something that both Alan and I are very comfortable saying. I cannot even explain to you how this frees our mind at social events. We still have lots to deal with anytime we leave the house with a 16 month old and with Blaze getting overloaded, but we are not overloaded and that is a huge relief. The moral of the story here is there is so much power is owning differences. I remember as a child I was horrified at anything that made me different than everybody else and nobody ever reassured me that it was ok to be me. I didn’t learn that until I was in my 30’s. Thank God I realized this before I started raising my own kids. I know we all go through things like this but I pray that my kids will, not only tolerate but, embrace what makes them who they are.