Earlier this week, she called my husband all excited. She found out that the show “Wicked” will be having a production just for kids on the autism spectrum and wanted to take the three of us as her guest. My husband called me over, told me about her offer, and put us on speaker (which I told him never to do to me again) so I could respond.It just came out of my mouth: “You know, I’ve seen Wicked. It’s long and I don’t think I could sit through it again. But you guys can go.”
My husband has no desire to see Wicked so he was shaking his head to say “Noo……!”But she didn’t take me up on my offer. There was silence on the phone. I had already trampled on her gesture.
I signaled him to take us off speaker and he did while rambling on to her on that James can’t sit through long plays, etc.I felt so bad. I didn't mean to sound so flip. I thought about a friend of mine who is gay and came out to her family years ago. A few months later, they decided to rally around her and come in from Connecticut to march with her in the Gay Pride Parade. She was mortified. “I just want to march with my friends. What do I say to them?”
“Aww… that so sweeeeeeett…,” I said. “They want to show their love and support. You have to let them do this for you…” I’m sure she’d be saying to me, “Aww…you jaded pill. It won’t kill you to sit through it again. Let her express her love …”I know that I, like a lot of my SN mom friends, roll my eyes when well-meaning people with neurotypical lives send us every article about autism not realizing that we are walking encyclopedias on the subject, or tell us, “Oh my son does that too." (Really, he always licks his wrist before he puts a piece a food in his mouth?)
But I have to realize it all comes from a good place and there is no right thing to do or say when you have a friend or family member who has a child with special needs. Some of us want people to acknowledge it more, some of us want people to acknowledge it less, say this, don’t say that, invite me to your kid's party, don’t invite me...
No matter what they do, they open themselves to our judgment and even outright rejection, which was the case for our cousin and her beautiful offer.So I resolve to give neurotypical families a break and, of course, figure out a way to make it up to our lovely cousin (cause I still don’t want to go see Wicked).