I love people..I really do. I am not being sarcastic or being rude, I do actually enjoy being around people.. I love being the life of the party, I love talking about anything and everything, and especially making people laugh.. that is my greatest joy. What I enjoy is seeing friends, either friends I see almost on a weekly basis.. and then friends I see maybe a month or two apart.. I love seeing my friends and talking grown up talk.. work...men..marriage...parenting...food.. everything.
Most of the time, my talks always come back to Owen...and that's when I really don't shut-up... I could talk about that kid till I am blue in the face. It makes me feel so blessed that friends of mine constantly want to know about him and how he is doing, about his up-coming fundrasier, everything to do with him.. this alone makes me glow as his mother... I get to brag...
I think I would enjoy these moments FAR less if my beautiful son was not doing as well as he is.. I think I would dread the fact of someone even bringing him up to me.. but I don't have that situation.. I have the opposite....what I really do NOT enjoy is parenting advice from people... ESPECIALLY people I do not even know.. but have all the answers.
I would guess as a mother with a child with some sort of labeled disability, that we should almost come to expect this... and I guess especially if our child has a physical disability.. as we have also experienced the public stares and whispers. For us today, it all went down at Zehrs. I went to Zehrs to pick up some last minute things for the weekend, and I had my daughter and my newborn little chunker. I always get comments on how close in age all my children are, and then when I answer them, I get the famous, "Oh my Gosh you must be so busy.. good for you". thanks. Believe me, you do get used to all these questions, and now my answers are the same everytime, it plays like a recording in my head when I actually say them out loud...."Yes, they are close..but it worked better for us regarding work and Maternity Leave...and they are really good kids"...blah blah... then I said to this lady, I also have a wonderful son who is 2 1/2, recently diagnosed with Autism, but he is so good!
Enter Parenting Advice - Not wanted. Yes... this is almost completely my fault. I did not have to mention Owen, his age, Autism.. or anything.. but I did. I love getting the reaction.. just to show them how crazy Ryan and I really are.. but then we get the unwanted advice... "awww hunni, do you have him in that diet.. IT REALLY WORKS"..."you caught it so early"..."get him in treatment...there are a lot of services...".. and then I tune out..I go into fantasy world... when they think I am listening to the parenting advice I am actually thinking what I should wear tomorrow.. what to get/make for dinner...anything but how to be told to parent my son.
When I took Owen to Sobeys a week ago, Owen loves to hum to himself.. he is not loud by any means..but when you are waiting to check out and everyone is so tight to each other.. it may seem loud. Of course the looks from onlookers begin..and momma Vanessa becomes EXTREMELY protective...it is all normal for a parent/sibiling/the child him or her self.. but it is still not right. It honestly makes me want to wear a shirt 24/7..saying, "Yes, I am a parent of a child with Autism .. instead of staring ask me a question"..and then slap a t-shirt on Owen saying, "what? is my Autism showing?"...
I keep saying to myself in these situations a saying I frequently keep on my facebook status, that Autism is not the tradegy...Ignorance is.. but it is so hard in the moment to hold back.. For the life of me, I want to scream out that my beautiful son Owen is -
LOVING TO EVERYONE WHO KNOWS HIM
HE IS FUNNY
HE IS COMPASIONATE
HE IS PROTECTIVE
HE IS SMART, SO SMART HE IS LEARNING SOMETHING NEW EVERYDAY RIGHT AWAY!
HE RUNS LIKE YOU
HE WALKS AND PLAYS SPORTS LIKE YOU
HE IS NEVER RUDE
HE CAN HAVE ATTITUDE LIKE ANYONE ELSE
HE NEVER JUDGES ANYONE
HE LOVES HIS PARENTS, HIS SIBLINGS, EVERYONE IN HIS FAMILY
HE CAN DRESS HIMSELF - MINUS SHOES
HE LOVES THE OUTDOORS
HE CAN BE VERBAL AND HE CAN ALSO USE SIGN LANGUAGE
HE HAS GREAT FRIENDS IN HIS LIFE
HE HAS A SMILE THAT COULD MELT ANYONES HEART
and most of all, he has parents that would do anything in the world for him and his siblings...because they are worth it.. and so much more..they make us want to wake up in the morning and go to sleep just to do it all over..they make our hearts continue to beat.
So moral of the story - if you don't have a child effected by Autism - parenting adivce not wanted.