For Mamalode: When Autism Lives Across the Street

April 4, 2016 by

Hi there Internet friends,

If you’ve been reading here long, you know that I have a precious son who is on the spectrum. April is Autism Awareness/Acceptance month and while I know it’s a controversial month for some in our community, for us, at this point in our journey, it’s important to help to raise awareness and to fight for acceptance. On that note, I’m so happy to be over at Mamalode this month with a piece that matters a lot to me. It’s a piece I’ve been working on for months and it has found a home at the wonderful site Mamalode. I hope you’ll click over and read it, but even more than that, I hope you’ll share it. There are so many kiddos and adults in our world that are waiting to be seen, and there are so many parents who are trying to make a way in this world that just isn’t always friendly to people whose minds work differently. Thanks friends.

I was doing my best to get out the door when the doorbell rang. Already running late, I wasn’t expecting anyone and as I peeked out the kitchen window, I was surprised to see our neighbor from across the street. Her oldest son is a constant playmate to our four boys, but she has rarely appeared on our doorstep. I hurried to open the door, and when I did, she already had a kind and sympathetic smile plastered on her face. My stomach tightened and I returned her smile with a questioning smile of my own.

Haltingly, she laid it on me; there’d been an incident the night before. Actually, by the time she was done explaining to me exactly what had happened between her son and mine as they ran up and down our street at dusk, she’d listed out several little incidents that made me wish I hadn’t opened the door at all. She was kind, she was understanding, she said all the right things, and I was properly embarrassed, humbled, a little defensive, but mostly, just devastated. The hard realities of our son’s struggles often pop up without notice, and my heart can hardly stand it when they do.

This mild confrontation is not the first and won’t be the last one I’ll ever face on behalf of our son, and next time the other parent might not be so compassionate. They might not try so hard to meet me halfway. They might not want – or try – to understand his world at all.

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