I Catch Myself

It’s a Monday so Cameron and Charlie both had therapy this morning and then I had to scoot across town to get Charlie to preschool. Since he’s only there two hours a day for the rest of this school year I don’t always go back home, it seems like a waste of time. I had to run and pick up a couple grocery items from the store, Cameron and I had a snack, and then I let him run wild at a park near Charlie’s school. With the exception of a woman running a metal detector over the ground looking for lost treasures and a few people walking there was no one else there. We had been there alone for about forty minutes when another mom and her daughter came to play.

I fight the urge to explain to other people why my kids act differently than their neurotypical kid. Cameron is immature for his age, socially awkward, add in he’s a goofball like his Daddy, and I feel like people are staring. Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t but that nagging feeling that my child is being judged is there in my mind. To me it feels as if I go ahead and toss out there an explanation of “he’s on the spectrum” that they’ll be more accepting of his behaviors.

The other mom watched her daughter and after a while a persistent bee chased me off of his bench and I ended up talking with her a little. Turns out her daughter is taller than Cameron and only six years old! I explained that Cameron has always been small probably because he was a preemie. Cameron was hyper and definitely in goober mode so his immaturity was showing and I caught myself before explaining why he was acting so differently than a child his age should be.

I never told her my son was autistic. I bit my tongue, mostly to see if I could do it. I honestly cannot tell you why I explain. Is it to make me feel better or is it because I think they’ll be more accepting of my child? Maybe it’s an instinct to protect my boys and make sure the world understands them and accepts. Maybe it’s so they don’t judge my parenting. I have no clue why I feel this need to justify my children’s differences to others. I wish I knew whether it actually helps other parents understand or if it just makes them uncomfortable to know. I caught myself and didn’t give an explanation to my child’s differences today but tomorrow is another day.

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