by Brittany Reiger
As time goes on and I add more kids to Team Spectrum, I hear the phrase “I’m Sorry” more.
My kids are overboard quirky and I do not make them “hide” that. So, I find myself telling strangers quite often that all three are autistic. I have no shame in it, and I feel if people know, they will understand and be more accepting. Then, I wait for it…what they’ll say. Most of the time it’s “I’m sorry.” I sometimes get “WOW!” There are also the times people just stare at me like a deer in the headlights and do not know what to say.
I get it.
Before I was thrown into the land of autism, I would not have known what to say either. I too may have looked like a deer in the headlights.
So, I am here to help you come up with different things to say.
First and foremost, there is no need to be sorry. I am not sorry. They are not sorry. Is our life tough? Sure! Do they make it that way on purpose? No. Do I have the slightest idea what I’m doing? Nope. Is my head spinning every day? Absolutely.
As a matter of fact, there are days I think I should haul myself to the doctor and get myself the same happy liquid Benelli is on.
But here’s why you shouldn’t be sorry..
My kids are probably the coolest people I know. I may be biased, but they are absolutely kick ass kids. I don’t always feel I deserve to be their Mom because they are so cool. The reason parenting them is hard and I have my days, is because they speak a different language than I do. As a matter of fact, they have a completely different brain than I do. I am really hard on myself all the time about whether or not I am doing the right thing for them. I am sorry that I probably fail them or do not understand them enough, but I am NEVER sorry for who they are.
They have taught me things a typical child wouldn’t. They have taught me patience, humbleness, devotion, hard work, and perseverance. They taught me to be selfless and to be a good person. They have taught me words aren’t a necessary thing, all you really need in this world is love. They have taught me there is not a one size fits all for intelligence. They have taught me to forgive more easily. They have taught me that you do not need to worry so much about everything. Most importantly, they taught me that it is in fact imperfection that is beautiful.
My children will love you no matter who you are. Benelli’s best friend is a homeless man who plays the bongos on the streets of Philly. She doesn’t care about his past or who he is, she loves him because he includes her, he remembers her. I have watched countless families turn their heads away from this man and tell their children not to look, while mine are having a rock out session with him on the streets with his bongos.
My kids do not care what is cool. They do not care about the latest toy craze. They do not care when we walk through the toy section. My kids would be perfectly happy to play with a stick or a leaf.
When we are outside, they look to the sky squealing and flapping, the biggest smiles you could ever imagine. I wish I could see what the world looked like to them. How amazing would it be if we all saw our Earth that way? Maybe we would treat it better.
They teach me lessons every single day. They do not hate, they do not fear. They love, they accept.
So, do not be sorry for me. In fact, I may feel sorry for you. I may feel sorry that you have not had the same opportunities as me to see the beauty in the world being guided by some of the most beautiful souls to bless our planet.
So, next time someone tells you that their child/children are autistic, give them the biggest smile you can and ask them if there is anything you can do to make their life better. Because even through the hardships, even on those days that we can’t muster anymore strength, we get through from the beauty our kids have shown us.