The Moment in the Produce Aisle That Proved the Autism Specialists Wrong


I don’t want to eat this apple.

As I rinse the Gala apple I am disappointed. It’s surface is a dull red interrupted by an uneven patch of yellow. It’s lopsided and marred by bruises. It simply can’t compare to the shiny green luster of a Granny Smith.

I twist out the stem and bring the small, unwanted apple to my nose. I close my eyes and inhale.

I’m trying to trick my brain into appreciating this piece of fruit. Instead, the unremarkable scent has me imagining a bite of the absent Granny Smith. My teeth would break the skin, releasing tart juices onto my tongue. The crunch of each  subsequent bite would echo in my head. I would nibble off crispy white morsels until I reached the core. I would feel righteous eating such an apple, knowing how much healthier it is for me than a processed snack food.

Instead, I am feeling like a martyr. Sure, Gala apples were on sale at the grocery store, so I saved a few cents opting for this kind over the Granny Smith.  The two varieties were displayed side by side in the produce section. I was reaching for the luscious green apples when I was forced to buy the boring Galas.

It’s my son’s fault. You know, my autistic son who supposedly cannot pretend. “Lack of symbolic play skills” was one of the criteria for his diagnosis. It was one of the many things the specialists told us my son couldn’t do.

He was my shopping companion last Wednesday. He stood beside me as I scanned the Granny Smiths looking for apples without blemishes, the ones with the loveliest green curves.

I was reaching for the perfect specimen when Philip grabbed a Gala apple from the adjacent bin. He put it to his mouth and pretended to take a bite.

I had to buy this apple since Philip’s lips touched it. I put it in a bag. While my hands were occupied with this task, he grabbed a second apple and, complete with chomping sound effects, pretended to eat it. I was forced to purchase that one, too.

That’s why I’m washing an apple I never wanted. That’s why I’m taking a bite.

And it’s the sweetest tasting fruit I have ever eaten.

unnamed-16

A version of this post originally appeared That Cynking Feeling

The Mighty is asking the following: What’s one unexpected source of comfort when it comes to your (or a loved one’s) disability and/or disease? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our “Share Your Story” page for more about our submission guidelines.

Want to end the stigma around disability? Like us on Facebook.

And sign up for what we hope will be your favorite thing to read at night.

 

TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Autism Spectrum Disorder

Why I’m Talking About Medical Marijuana, Even If It Makes You Uncomfortable

Medical Marijuana. I’m just going to throw the words out there now, because for some reason they cause discomfort. And I think “uncomfortable” is a good place to start. I watched the documentary “Growing Hope” on NBC, which is about the fight for medical marijuana for epileptic kids and now I’m having a hard time [...]

Why I Let My Daughter Struggle to Stand

My daughter has cerebral palsy that is immediately obvious with her stiff gait and leg braces, but I’m the mom at the playground sitting on the bench letting her play without me. If she trips on the mulch, I don’t rush over to help; I let her stand back up. If she wants to climb [...]

The One Request I Ask of Parents of Typical Kids This Summer

Dear parents of typically developing kids, It’s been a busy summer! I see your Facebook posts about dance recitals and costumes, Little League championships and trophies and graduation parties with swimming pools. I see smiles covered with ice cream and big duffel bags packed and ready to go for overnight camp. I want to live [...]

Please Keep Your Advice About My Son With Autism to Yourself

My son, Charlie, has a sweet, gap-toothed smile and a twinkle in his chocolate-brown eyes that will make you fall in love with him instantly. He also has very limited language skills and a tendency to panic around sudden, loud noises. (Who doesn’t, right?) On warm afternoons, he’s inclined to strip naked in the living [...]