When Little Guy was first diagnosed with autism I remember choking out the words, "He's not like other kids." Then I could barely speak the words, but by now I've said them many many times and I thought that the reality of them didn't hurt anymore. Wrong.
Summer break from preschool gave me a break from seeing the typically developing peers - the "other kids" that my son is not like. We have been so busy with Little Guy's intensively therapeutic summer schedule that there has been little time for play dates. Today, though, this break ended with an outing with a friend and her son, a former classmate of Little Guys. Several times in the playdate I was blown away by the things that this classmate did. The way he could follow directions. The kind of questions he would ask. That he would ask questions. Ouch. ouch. ouch.
I didn't realize what a relief it has been for me to have a break from the "other" kids. Today has brought it back - the countless times the kids in Little Guys preschool class have shown me what a typically developing kid acts like, and how different my beloved Little Guy really is. People have said that Little Guy doesn't seem autistic. But if any one of them had spent 10 min. in his preschool classroom last year they would have seen the difference clearly.
I saw an article recently about a mother raising several autistic children, now in their teen years. She said that early on she had gone to grief conferences...that she had to mourn the loss of the children that she thought she would have to learn to accept the children that did have. Hubby thought that was a cold sentiment. I get it though. I really get it.
There was a little boy I thought Little Guy would be. I had a thousand little dreams of what his life would be, and already so many of those things have not been possible. I love him with all my heart and all my soul, have no doubt, and I am not remotely disappointed in him. He is so sweetly wonderful. But the fact remains that there are things I wanted for him that have not been possible, things that may not be possible in his future, and this is heartbreaking.
Little Guy is making exciting advances every day, and that is where my focus must stay. Some day again some other child will remind me again how far he has to go still and sometimes that will hurt. But we will move forward, Little Guy and I both, and I will hope and pray and work with endless tenacity towards improving life for Little Guy. As any mother of any child would.