“You know how hard it can be to control your emotions, especially when you get angry, right?” Perplexed, my son had no answer to give when his speech therapist asked him this question. After a few moments of silence I jumped in, “He doesn’t really get angry. Actually, in all his 17 years, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him angry.”
Throughout my son’s life, I’ve constantly bounced between two thoughts – My son is missing out on so much, but not everything he’s missing out on is bad.
He’s been disappointed and frustrated, but one would never know it other than the look in his eyes. Aside from his tantrums at a very young age, he’s never been angry. Even then, I’m not so sure his tantrums were out of anger, but instead driven by fear and overwhelming circumstances.
He did talk back once, however. Just once and it was barely audible. I laughed, inwardly. It was his first typical kid moment and it thrilled me. He’s never yelled or behaved in an angry manner. He doesn’t have mood swings or grumpy days.
His mood is very steady, one of happiness and contentment. Oh how I wish I was more like him.
Autism is either viewed as a blessing or a curse. I view it as a little of both, but primarily a blessing.
The fact is, my son may never hold a full time job or drive a car. He may never get married or have children. He may never live on his own.
But, he’ll also likely never skip school, secretly have a girl over, try illegal drugs or drink alcohol. He doesn’t make fun of people, bully them, get revenge, or purposely hurt others – emotionally or physically.
Since he knows that things are wrong and that certain choices can be bad for him, he’s never been and will likely never be a victim of peer pressure. He’s never been one to follow the crowd, seeking after popularity or acceptance. He simply is who he is.
He doesn’t allow others to think for him. He thinks for himself. So although he may be missing out on a lot, he’s also been saved from many common pitfalls of life.
He’s not perfect either. Trust me, he makes mistakes and has plenty of areas that need improvement. But one thing I can’t deny is that, even without trying, he’s got life figured out whole let better than most.
And I can only hope to be a little more like him one day.