Are you ever so mad about so many things that you just don’t know which to be mad about, so you just sort of sit and simmer like a boiling pot? I’m feeling that right now.
So, I’m typing in the dining room area as usual, and my mother comes in from outside, being her usual dramatic self. When asked what’s wrong, she answered, “Oh, I don’t know, it’s just not every day you find out your grandson could be autistic.”
She was talking about my nephew Jake, who is six years old and having a world of problems his first year in school. Everyone thought he had ADHD, but now there’s concern about his lack of hyperactivity, trouble with eye contact, and difficulty transitioning from one task to another. His mother, my little sis, is staying calm and is determined to help her son no matter what label gets stuck on him. I know Jake is going to be okay, because early diagnosis and good parents like he’s got make a world of difference.
So, why am I mad, you ask? Three main reasons. First, I only heard what my mother said because I happened, in a rare moment, to have my earbuds out. Since she’s not talking to me at the moment, I think it’s likely that had I not overheard, I wouldn’t have been told about this.
Second, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but I myself am autistic. I was diagnosed late, in my early 20s, so school was hell for me, because it was fucking harder for me than everyone else around me and we didn’t know why. The fact that my mother is taking this potentiality of autism so hard is, frankly, insulting. I feel like she’s equating it to the end of the world, saying that your life is worth less if you’re autistic.
Third. My mother barely blinked when I myself was diagnosed. I was surprised, because she’s worked as a caregiver for autistic adults and has expressed interest in working with autistic children, but when her own daughter is revealed to have it, nothing. Not a curious question, not a word of concern. I actually had her go with me once to the library to hear a talk on autism; she left halfway through, saying it was boring. I hadn’t asked her because I thought it would be fun. I’d wanted her to go to help her understand me. But I’ve just never been a subject that interested her.
I’m glad my mother loves her grandchildren so much. I just wish I knew what I did a long time ago to stop her from caring about me.