To her, and others, I don’t deserve Charlie because I use the term he was diagnosed with — by a neurologist — to describe his lifelong disability: level 3, severe autism.
As I look at this photo of myself, taken this morning, I’m proud.
I promised Jude a cake for the first day of school, but as an autistic person, going to the grocery store is a daunting task — so much so that I order 99% of my groceries online. I initially ordered a cake through Instacart, but the shopper, unfortunately, drove away with the cake. Story for another day.
This morning, we dropped Jude off at school for his first day of second grade. I didn’t plan to get out of the car, so I wore my freshly-stained nightgown.
Leaving school, I remembered the cake. I had to work at 9, so I had no choice. I had to get the cake, now, in my pajamas.
I pushed through the fear, discomfort, and insecurity and went inside the store in my stained nightgown and full-on bedhead to get Jude the cake I had promised.
I may not be a perfect mom, but I can tell you one thing, I love my children and they’re well cared for.
So when I read comments like hers, it doesn’t affect me personally. But it makes me sad for the parents, new to their journey with autism, who come to social media looking for support and connection and leave with this.
If that’s you, know that what these people say to parents is a reflection of their personal issues, prejudices, and ignorance — not you or your parenting.
We’ve been through what you’re going through. We won’t judge you for using functioning labels, the color blue, the puzzle piece, or anything else like that.
We’re all doing the best we can. And on the days we fail, we’re our own worst critics. We don’t need judgment from strangers.
I promise you, there are many more of us who get it. We may not be as loud, but we’re here. We see you.