I met a woman the other day who asked me for some advice. “I want my son to be autistic.” She said it like I might say, “I want my son to stop peeing on the floor.” Quite sure I misunderstood her, I did the furrowed brow + polite smile, and eloquently said, “HUH?” She repeated herself. “I wish he had autism. But just the easy kind. The quirky kind. The kind that gets kids help in school.”
Well. No one had ever peered into my son’s world before and been envious. So it got me thinking, HUH (there’s that eloquence again), maybe I just need a little perspective. Thank you random, socially-inappropriate mom for helping me see the autism silver lining. In honor of Dave Letterman’s retirement, here’s my…
Top Ten Things About Autism! (cheer! applause! clap clap clap!)
10 – Built-in excuse to leave a party early. Others might have to concoct an “Aunt Emily” who they have to fake-visit, or set up an “emergency page” (I’m thinking doctors here, people, not drug dealers). Not me. I say, “thank you so much, we’re going to head out,” and I point to my son who I can always count on to be doing something wildly inappropriate. The hosts say, “of course, of course, thanks for coming” and I breeze out like a boss.
9 – I always know what my son is thinking. Because he repeats it one million times.
8 – A Clean House. I basically cohabitate with a bunch of therapists so I am always making sure my house is presentable. I bet most Better Homes & Garden’s showcase homeowners are autism moms.
7 – I am like cuatro-lingual. That Spanish you lost because you never used it? I picked up conversational fluency in speech pathology and occupational therapy, while seamlessly learning to speak in legit-sounding acronyms like ABA, IEP, DDD and WTF. Oh wait, not that last one. My bad.
6 – My friends really, really like me. When a kid has hit you, tossed a four-letter word in your direction, and/or thrown a ball at your head (remember this post?), and you stick around? You must really like us. While some of you dear readers might have to question your friends’ loyalty, we do no second guessing around here.
5 – But on the flip side, what a blessing to be disliked by school admin! I never have to spend time being homeroom mom, PTO President or volunteering at the bake sale to make school friends. Being disliked from the get-go saves me oodles of time. Phew.
4- Speaking of saving time, don’t forget all that money I save on birthday gifts to parties my son is not invited to attend! Cha-ching.
3 – Autism moms have a real gift in Polite Smiling. Talking about TV shows we are too tired to watch? Polite smile. Which of the plethora of awesome schools is the best fit? Polite smile. Plans for the next Mommy-Mimosa-Kids-Playdate? Polite…actually, no, that one doesn’t get a polite smile. That one makes me feel like I’ve missed my calling.
2 – Autism makes you Eco-Friendly! Sooooo many bills. So much recycling. I feel like I’m really doing my part for Mother Earth.
1 – Weight Loss. Clearly. Watch out Zumba, I’m about to start a “Come Pace with Me” video series that is guar-an-teed to burn calories.