I had a dental appointment last week. Years ago, I requested never to be scheduled with one particular hygienist. The first time I saw her, I left there feeling as if my mouth had been ripped apart. As it turned out, she has a child with autism. I made the mistake of telling her that DC also has autism. Mistake? Yes! Mistake! This was the most uncomfortable and painful appointment I have ever had! Painful – because the more she talked about her son the more aggressively she cleaned my teeth. Uncomfortable – because the stories she felt compelled to tell me about him were just unbelievably inappropriate (in my opinion) and very uncomfortable for me.
I have friends and we do feel relatively comfortable talking about our many issues with our children, but never, ever would I speak of these things with a stranger or here in this blog. Her stories went above and beyond anything I could even imagine. In general, I am usually willing to talk with anyone about autism. I am no expert and can only speak to DC’s autism, but I am always willing to talk about it if someone feels the need. It did not take long for me to realize that she was not looking for someone to talk to, she was just really looking for someone to shock and this conversation was not just for my benefit, it was for the benefit of the entire office.
When I arrived for my appointment last week I discovered that they had scheduled me with her again. I couldn’t ask them to switch because she was standing right there. She didn’t remember me, and I specifically did not mention DC…. but it didn’t matter – she had just gone through a divorce…….
I left there with my mouth torn to pieces.
This appointment and the memory of my first appointment with her reminded me of a post I wrote a few months back which was written about what I will share or not share. I am re-posting it below as a “summer rerun”. Everyone has different ideas about what they feel comfortable sharing, but there are some things that I, personally am not comfortable in sharing here – that’s just me. I am sure there are people that think that I share too much and that is fine too – I am comfortable right where I am..
What to share? That is the question…..
The answer….. for me, not everything.
A few days ago I came across this post from Diary of a Mom – online privacy – part a million. Coincidentally I had just had not one but two similar conversations just last week.
Yes, I do write about my son DC. Whether he understands it or not, I do tell him that I write stories about him. I do tell him what I am writing about. I try very hard not to write about anything that might embarrass him even if I believe he will not or does not understand it. There are so many topics I will not write about.
Good Grief ! I was so on the fence about writing a story about toilet paper that it took me two days to hit “publish” and when I did finally publish, I had to disguise it as paper towels:
(you can see, I am over that now)
I find it much easier to explain autism, HIS autism by telling specific stories about how his mind works, the things he does or says, the many things he is obsessed with, his likes, his dislikes and some of the issues we face. At times I will use humor to tell a story because at times he is funny, the situations are funny! He knows he’s funny. I tell him he is funny. I may be laughing at the situation – I am never laughing at him.
I have some very good friends, many of whom also have children with special needs. I am thankful for them. We are all somewhat in the same boat and even though autism is not the common diagnosis, we all seem to have many of the same issues. They are the people I can share the “Holy S#!T, how is this my life?” moments with, because at times we all just need to tell someone. They share with me as well. You really don’t want to be in the room when we are all together, trust me. We are able to discuss issues that I can only assume most NT parents do not and would not discuss with their friends (DC is my only child so, that is only an assumption on my part). Those conversations remain between us. They are not written about – ever.
Recently a few people suggested that stories about certain behaviors, “growing pains” and other such topics should become a part of this blog. They will not be…
I understand that people might look at this type of information as knowledge or what they may have to look forward to – I do, but there are plenty of other resources and blogs out there that will and do share this sort of information, some cringe-worthy (to me, maybe not to anyone else) and some handling the subject quite delicately but I don’t feel the need to do that here. I am not saying they are wrong. I am certainly not judging anyone – people have different views on the subject of sharing, this is just mine. It is not for me.
We have our good days, we have our bad days and I almost always learn something from the bad days. I may sometimes write about or mention the bad but not usually in specific detail. I will just about always write about what we’ve learned or have been able to figure out from both the good and the bad. I hope I have not written anything that would embarrass him, I don’t think I have. Everyone’s perspective being different; maybe to some, I have. I do hope that in my almost two years of blogging you might by now have a small snapshot about DC, HIS autism, his triumphs, the progress he still continues to make, the way his mind works and most importantly that he is a happy guy who loves his life.
I’ll leave the rest to others…….
(Here is another post from Autism-Mom along the same lines that has been published since; PROTECTING HIM ONLINE – be sure to give it a read.)