Let me start with the fact that I don't get much, if any, one on one time with Liam these days, so today I dropped the two little ones in Occasional Care at the local shopping centre and spent three hours with my big boy. Liam was stoked once he realised he had my undivided attention and that we were about to do an old tradition of having a very sweet and yummy lunch at a cafe that enabled us to people watch (one of his favourite past times). I had our good friend J with us (you know the undiagnosed Aspergers bestie I was telling you about ) and we were enjoying our delicious lunch of toasted banana bread and choc mud cake. Liam was beaming from ear to ear, but at the same time concentrating on each person that walked passed the cafe. I was mid conversation with J when a lady that had been sitting near us came up to me and said "I just want to say what a great job you do" and some other words to that effect. It all became a bit of a blur after that. I thanked her but said "I am so lucky to have my son, he's awesome... high five Liam!" and Liam looked at me like 'errr what? who the hell is she?'. Anyway I am not angry at the lady, clearly she was trying to be really lovely and nice and all that, but it made me sad all of a sudden. Like she viewed Liam as if he was a burden, almost like he didn't fully exist, because she had said all this in front of him and only acknowledged him when I said he is awesome and that I was indeed the lucky one. I felt sick because I never view Liam as a burden, he is my son! I love him to infinity! How could anyone view my Liam that way, as if he is an inconvenience?? I guess I've been living in a warm cosy bubble... I surround myself with people that see Liam just as he is... awesome! And I guess I have also blocked out these moments successfully before.... Until today. I still have a tear in my eye. An ache in my heart. I'm really hoping it's just hormones or lack of sleep.
Another 'pushed back comment' that came hurtling it's way to the forefront of my mind today came from a conversation I had at a children's birthday party. I was having a 'catch up' with a lady I had met years prior to having children. We had gone out to a few events where of course I was always the life of the party. Anyway I was filling her in on Jack's ASD and she responded with something along the lines of "Wow one child with CP and one with Autism, you must be having payback from all your hedonistic days in your early twenties!". At the time I gave a forced laugh, shrugging it off. When really I should've pointed out to her that my children are not a punishment. That they are the biggest blessing in my life. Did she not realise what she was saying? No I guess she didn't and she probably would be mortified if she knew how much she hurt me.
Thinking about these incidences I worry people think children and adults with Diffability are a punishment or a burden or anything so demeaning. When they are anything but a punishment! Yes they make life a bit more challenging at times, but there's a difference. And may I add that we can all make life challenging at times.. just saying *insert winky face*