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My Son Has Autism. This Is Why I'm Lucky.

I will be the first to admit this is not the life I thought I would have. I mean, come on. Who signs up for it? Even teachers, therapists and other professionals that work with our kids clock out at the end of a shift. Hell, half the reason I left the field after the kiddo was born was because autism was burning me out. HA! Autism Mafia was like, “Oh no, girl.  Just when you think you’re done with us, we pull you back in.”

So yeah, some days are less than ideal. I might not always show it online but trust me I am far from an Autism Pollyanna. However despite the sleep, food and behavioral issues, I’m pretty lucky. No really. Let me break this down for you.

I’m lucky it’s 2014. We know so much more now — way more than even a generation before us did. My kiddo wouldn’t even be in my town’s school district had this been like it was when I was his age. More likely I would of been encouraged/pushed into sending him away to some facility where visits would be rare if at all. And the care? Let’s not even think about that. As much as I joke from time to time that the kiddo is available for rent (two night minimum) or that a band of kidnappers would probably return him after having him for a day, I really can’t even wrap my head around this idea of him not living here.

I’m lucky for the Internet. Again, this goes with the 2014 thing, but when it’s 1 a.m. and I can’t sleep because I am too busy having insomnia over my kiddo or he has decided it’s a sleep-optional night, another autism parent is up somewhere in the world. Or there are blogs to read. Or good quality crap TV to watch online. The computer can be my lifeline and my mindless entertainment. I can just lurk or pour my heart out onto the page like I am now. Thank God for blogging. I think I’m slightly less annoying to my family because I have somewhere to get this all out. Or at least they see other people, say, “ME TOO!” and realize I’m not just making this stuff up. I have seen a difference in them. Maybe they’re just afraid I’ll put them in the blog. I wield that like a sword then. I can make ya a hero or a villain folks!

I’m lucky I have a husband that stayed around. So many do not. So many bail. Not him. He gets tired. He is never sure what kind of scene he’s going to walk in on when he comes home from work. (I suspect he checks in on Facebook before he heads home for the night. I would.) Even when he’s off work, he’s just on another shift at another job. This boss is far more demanding, the hours suck and this daddying job won’t even match a 401K. He’s here doing it with me though. At least I have a coworker I get along with and I can say, “WTF?” too. Plus, he’s kind of cute, and I’m allowed to sexually harass him. In fact, he encourages that.

I’m lucky my son’s school district does not suck. He’s been going since he was 3. Off the top of my head I can think of maybe three or four problems that needed addressing. He’s 10 now. That’s a pretty good record when I think about it. Before you get yourself in a twist thinking, “Oh, her kiddo must be much more high-functioning and needs less,” nope, you couldn’t be more wrong actually. I am very grateful we live where we live. We go without quite a bit in areas because being in this district means that much to us. Yes, we go into IEP meetings prepared but I’ve never left one enraged. We get to “a place of Yes,” I guess you could say.

I’m lucky because this could be more complicated. He could have several other health issues to boot. I know several families who are dealing with autism and “fill in the blank” medical challenge — seizures, heart problems, diabetes, vision and hearing loss. Again, he’s 10. ONE ER visit. Just the one. I know, right?  How the heck am I managing that? Knock wood, I haven’t a clue. I’m just lucky I guess.

I’m lucky because it has been worse and it got better. I’m lucky because I have gotten used to the way we live. I’m lucky because my pity parties for one don’t last as long as they used to back at the start of all this. I’m lucky because I can find the humor now and then in this.

I’m lucky because even when it’s a really crappy day I can go to a drive-thru window and get an order of fries and make my kiddo happy. Whoever said money doesn’t buy happiness clearly never saw the look on my son’s face when given a side of fries. Thank goodness it’s fries he loves. Foie gras would of been a much more expensive food to obsess on. Sure wouldn’t of worked as a blog title either.

This post originally appeared on Autism With a Side of Fries.

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