11.19.2006

An Autism Mom Who Should Have Known Better

An Autism Mom Who Should Have Known Better

That would be me.

I tried to take Leelo to Iz's Unitarian Rite of Passage ceremony today. I can't stand the thought of excluding my son from our family milestone events, plus I was feeling optimistic as our boy has been behaving so well lately. We have even been going to restaurants and parties with him again. I figured the importance of the event made it worth the gamble.

The ceremony was a lovely, slightly goofy Unitarian version of a first communion--minus the host and transubstantiation. The fifteen third and fourth-graders got to light candles and recite credos they had written themselves. Then we parents approached and placed a string of beads the kids had made around their necks--one bead for every of the seven UU principles (very rosary-like, though I doubt my Catholic mother would approve). Then the congregation congratulated the children on reaching their Age of Reason.

At least, that's what I heard happened. Leelo got increasingly agitated and vocal as the ceremony progressed, and--right before Iz's turn to recite--he hauled off and slugged me in the nose. Hard.

I scooped him up and ran down the hall to the bathroom, locked us in, and started sobbing. Not because of my throbbing nose, but because I was so angry with myself. It was selfish and stupid to put Leelo in that position. I should have asked Babysitter A to come with us to the ceremony, so that Leelo would have an out. I should have taken him out of the sanctuary as soon as he started getting upset. I should never had expected him to "calm down" just because we were at a special event.

Thankfully, Godfather M came down for the ceremony, and brought his brand new camera. Hopefully I'll get to see what it looked like when Seymour placed the beads around our daughter's neck, and the expression on her face as the entire congregation welcomed her.

While I wait for the photos to arrive, I will start fucking dealing with the fact that Leelo won't always be able to go everywhere with us. It's not his fault, nor is it mine. Nor is it fair.

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