Someday, I Won't Have to Write About Autism Anymore
Today, sweet boy, was a good day. There were very few meltdowns. There were a lot of snuggles. You used your words to communicate your needs and frustrations. You played with your sister nicely and compromised when needed. And we had a great outing that left you smiling from ear to ear.
You had a moment of excitement at seeing an unexpected favorite thing while we were out and about. You flapped. You jumped up and down, yelled with delight and ran towards it. You only saw the exhibit. Not the people around it. You didn't see the mother shield her daughter when she thought you got too close (you weren't too close). You didn't see her smile turn into a disapproving frown when your voice was a bit too loud for indoors. You didn't see her eyebrows furrow with a perplexed look when you kept saying the same phrase over and over. You didn't notice how quickly they moved on to the next exhibit or the ones they skipped to get away from us more quickly.
I saw it and I'll admit it took a little bit of joy away from a moment that should have been nothing but joyful. It didn't bother me in that I felt judged as a parent. I got past that feeling long ago. It didn't bother me that her kids were quiet and well-behaved and she clearly thought you weren't. To each their own.
But it bothered me that she didn't know. It bothered me that people expect you to wear an "I'm autistic" sign on your head for them to be kind to you in those situations. It bothered me that she appeared to be scared of you because your mannerisms are a bit different. It bothered me that I didn't even get a chance to tell her about you or explain you were just excited. It bothers me that as much as we advocate and explain that there is still a whole world of people who don't know how autism can look. And maybe they don't want to or care to know. The optimistic part of me wants to believe that they would care about you and they would accept you, but they just don't know yet. There aren't always great moments to educate the masses while we are trying to get through our day. But we will try and we will keep explaining, and educating and enlightening at every chance we get. And I'll keep writing about you and your beautiful mind until everyone knows.