I Can’t Imagine Being You

Each time I make a friend, I wonder how long that person will be able to bear the weight of my friendship.

In those first moments conversing, I make predictions in my head:

  • We’ll never be more than acquaintances.
  • We’ll be friends for a few months until she figures out how hard it is to be my friend.
  • We’ll be friends for years but she’ll never invite me to her house. (If I stop inviting her to my house, the friendship will end.)

Some people offer well-meant platitudes: “Tell me what you need!”

My son needs specialized care.

As much as I need help, I cannot accept help.

I am not an overprotective mother — and it took me nearly ten years to understand this fact after silently bearing countless critiques regarding my mothering.

If I accept help, after all, Milo might be harmed. I am a mother who understands that her son requires expert care.

Some people submit piercing observations:

  • “I thought autism was caused by the mother’s pregnancy diet.” (This was once said, to my face, without explanation.)
  • “I’ve read that autism is determined by the father’s genes.” (This was also said to my face without explanation.)
  • “There’s only so much we can expect for kids who are low-functioning.” (This was said by a therapist when I asked about amending Milo’s therapy goals.)
  • “I do know that my son would be considered high-functioning.” (This was said when I reached out to the parent of a newly-diagnosed autistic child. From my perspective, it was clear that she wanted to differentiate her child from mine.)
  • “I can’t imagine.” (This is said by nearly everyone and offers not a bone in my body the slightest encouragement.)

Some people look the other way, pretending that nothing is amiss in the fact that my nine-year-old is screaming in the supermarket because the song over the loudspeakers changed — and the tempo of the new song is not as palatable to Milo’s autonomic nervous system as the tempo of the previous song.

As I write, I anticipate well-intentioned replies: We hate that you are feeling this way. We don’t know how to help, but we want to help. What can we do?

You will not like the truth.

The truth is, you cannot help.

I wish you could help. I like you.

If circumstances were different, we might be the best of friends.

As it stands, I will break your heart again and again.

You will judge my parenting style. You will judge my marriage. You will wonder why I ask for help with the silliest things.

You will also wonder why I don’t get more help.

You will consider how differently you would do things if you were me.

I choose, willingly, to break your heart because I refuse to break his.

Written by, Heather Cadenhead

Heather Cadenhead is a mom of boys, homeschool teacher, and autism advocate. She writes about nonverbal autism and homeschooling in her monthly newsletter. She invites you to subscribe @ https://mailchi.mp/c83d2a0e2e1a/subscribe-to-heather-cadenhead.

Interested in writing for Finding Cooper’s Voice? LEARN MORE

Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook, subscribe for exclusive videos, and subscribe to our newsletter.

47 likes
Prev post: More Than Words Can SayNext post: On Our 10th World Autism Day, We Celebrate

Related posts

Join Coop’s Troop
Join Coop’s Troop

Become a Supporter of Finding Cooper's Voice and join our online community, Coop's Troop. Membership includes Facebook Lives with our family, giveaways and more.
JOIN NOW

About Me
About Me

Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

READ MORE

SHOP OUR SHIRTS
SHOP OUR SHIRTS
FindingCoopersVoice
SHOP OUR SHIRTS
SHOP OUR SHIRTS
Sign up for Finding Cooper's Voice
* = required field

powered by MailChimp!
SHOP OUR SHIRTS
SHOP OUR SHIRTS
Most Popular
SHOP OUR SHIRTS
SHOP OUR SHIRTS