We managed to get away to the coast for a short easter break last week, and while the weather was good, children were naughty and chocolate was plentiful – things were not as they should be. I had chance to take stock and look around at what ‘normal’ families do on holidays. I saw families with kids of similar age sitting on the bank of the lake fishing, just sitting. No one was telling anyone not to eat their fishing line, rescuing children from the water, putting clothes back on anyone or stealing food from other fishing folk. I watched these families with such envy, so much so I had to walk away at times. I almost felt that they were being overly normal just to piss me off. I want that simple life so bad.
Autism changes everything. It changes your perception of a normal lifestyle. Sometimes you can sink so far into that lifestyle, that it’s not until you see how families that are unaffected by Autism or any other disability live their lives, that you get reminded what you are missing out on.
Friendships have been the biggest thing lost for us. We can’t have normal friendships with a.n.y.o.n.e. It is just too hard to maintain, over the years my closest friends have all edged to the fringes of being people who I occasionally poke on facebook. Invitations have slowed down (stopped), and I know this is because we never accept them so eventually people just stop asking – although I wish they would, just being asked is nice it tells me they are still thinking of us – but the reality is we can’t bring our kids to your home without forward planning and lot’s of it, and you can’t expect that just for a cup of coffee. Coming to my place isn’t that fun either, when my kids are in their own zone, it really is their own zone – to do in whatever they please, and yes that may involve using a guests sleeve as a hanky, raiding their unguarded handbag for mints or running around and around said guest until they’re dizzy (the guest that is). This is why I forget what people do for fun these days, haven’t seen it for a while.
Where am I going with this? Not really sure. But here’s the thing, I may not be able to come over for that coffee, this doesn’t mean I don’t want to – it’s not you, it’s me and my menagerie holding me back. Friendship, however stretched is valued, and very appreciated by me and families in the same situation as me. So don’t forget that invitation, you never know one day we might raise enough danger money for a babysitter to take on this lot.
Autism isolates whole families.