Be Kind for Autism Awareness

Parent teacher conferences at Seth’s preschool. We are new to town. I don’t have a local emergency contact person. We’ve only been here a couple of months and it’s all I can do to tend to my two children. One with autism. I don’t get to “do coffee” or hang out with the other preschool moms, chit chatting away, making friends and emergency contacts. I’m busy with doctor appointments, and therapies, and making every morsel my family eats from scratch in order to follow The Specific Carb Diet to a T. I don’t know it yet, but my health is about to take a dive. Adrenal fatigue. Thyroid.

I don’t have anyone to leave my kids with for this 20 minute conference. But the conference is essential. Mandatory. I noted previously the secretary’s office has a train table, a basket of toys and books. I’m sure it will be alright. I’ll be just down the hall. They play nice together. Nothing should set Riley off here.

The secretary says, “Yes, yes of course! They are darling! Look at them!” I let out my breath. I never ask for help. I hate asking for help. But she’s so gracious. I get a lump in my throat.

Seth’s teachers love him. They say he’s a doll. In and out. No dilly-dallying. I’m on my way.

Back in the office, the director is there. She takes me aside and in no uncertain terms tells me this is not a daycare. I can’t be leaving my kids with the secretary. She has work to do. If she lets me do this, then everyone will do this, and no work will get done.

I feel punched in the stomach. I have just moved here. I don’t know anyone. No emergency contact. I moved here for my older child who has autism. I am trying so hard. I am buckling with the strain of the last few years.

I asked for help, one time. For twenty minutes.

Tears welled in my eyes and I willed myself not to cry. I didn’t cry. I wouldn’t look at her. I took each child by the hand and walked briskly down the hall.

She approached me the next day. She felt terrible. Wanted me to assuage her guilt. I couldn’t get on her bad side. For Seth. He deserved some normalcy in his life. I was polite.

This is autism.

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7 Responses to Be Kind for Autism Awareness

  1. Georgia Mom says:

    People have asked me: Why don’t you move? You could live anywhere in the U.S.

    (wouldn’t that be lovely?)

    This is why. Single-parent household here.

  2. Brenda Riesen says:

    Wish I could lend a hand for twenty mins or so.
    Keep the Faith, You were hand picked for the job!

  3. Tanya Savko says:

    Ugh, I remember those days, not having anyone to watch the kids. And once for a few weeks I tried out a strict raw food diet and made all my own food from scratch – it was so time-consuming. I totally feel for you having to do it long-term.

  4. kario says:

    You brought me right back to those lonely, lonely days of parenting. It is so scary (and feels so pathetic) to find yourself in a situation where you have no back-up and you can’t or don’t know how to ask for help. I am so sorry that your ‘ask’ was not rewarded by a positive experience. I know how hard it is to recover from that to ask again. I do know however, that you are a master at finding community for yourself and I know your latest move may take some work, but you’ll find just what you need.

    Love.

  5. Meg says:

    I have often felt that way and I don’t have a special needs child. Just no family in town and (formerly) all working mom friends who weren’t home in any case. Sigh. Some themes are universal, even if they vary in degree of angst production!

  6. I live that kind of existence, too. Still. Oldest son is 12 now, and we still do not have any backup child care people, because it could be dangerous. I so want to be able to let down my guard, to let other people in to our lives. But I’m not able to fully trust our son with others, or non-therapists with our son. Not yet.