Sunday, May 6, 2012

First-world problems

I have two sets of blogs I love to read: one set is just for me and my interests, and the other set is about autism and parenting kids who have autism.  Over time, the blogs in the lists have changed, but they remain a list of those that are mostly family-friendly (for those who read over my shoulder) and mostly G-rated.

I know that being the parent of a kid with autism is hard.  My kid's flavor of autism -- Asperger's -- is an intellectually-gifted, socially-pathetic (almost-sociopathic) kind.  Primo has almost no ability to empathize with anyone else, except when their point of view is very similar to his.

I know that parents who have kids with autism didn't choose the life they have.  Many parents would choose to have their kid, without the autism.  Others will say that the autism and the kid are inseparable, and the autism is part of who the kid is.  For me, I would be lying if I said that I'd take Primo with autism as readily as I'd accept him without it.  His struggles with life, his loneliness, and his antisocial behaviors are all hard on him as well as the rest of his family.  Having Primo's autism in our family makes our lives so much more challenging, and often downright miserable.  If I could choose to have him become neurotypical, I'd do it in a heartbeat.  I wonder whether he would.

Having Spark come into our family has provided a sharp contrast for me as a mother.  As far as we know, Spark is neurotypical.  He joined our family when Primo was four years old, right when the autism started to become more markedly apparent.  I knew, through the haze of nursing and diapering and trying to mother those different needs, that something was up with Primo.  I was raised in a family with a father has Asperger's Syndrome, too, so I recognized what was going on.  Spark knows that his brother has autism, and to a degree he can understand that the autism is what makes Primo so unable to be mostly polite and kind.  It's hard for Spark, though.  He's a deeply emotive and sweet person.  I wish his big brother could be the strong, sure, kind and assuring type.

Some days I'm in a state of grace, and some days I'm not.  I've got my own issues, like major depression and anxiety, which I mostly manage with medications and supplements.  I'm about 65 pounds overweight.  Hero's got more anxiety than I do.  He's a gifted musician with no time to make music.  We've got no discretionary income, lots of debt, a house in strong need of rewiring and insulation, and two cars with almost-bald tires.

We also have a lots of family members who love us, though they are unable to help us with caring for our children or our finances.  They can and do pray for us on a regular basis.

I think about the complaints that I have and the complaints I hear and read from others every day.  For the most part, we are lower-middle-class white U.S. residents who have homes to live in, food to eat, and people who care about us.  I know that some hurts run extra-deep, and some pains from mental illness and addiction are extra-strong.  But really, what is it with the navel-gazing and inward-scrutiny?

Sheesh.  Get over yourself already.  It's not about YOU.  Do some good for someone else today, will ya?  You might feel better.

Tell 'em Glori B. said you should.