I don’t know how to write about my children here anymore.
I don’t know how to write about being their mum.
And it shouldn’t be this way, because of course I could wax lyrical about their sweet natures, the funny dances in the living room, the look on Tristan’s face when we took him to CBeebies Land, the way Leo presses his face against ours and closes his eyes to say “I love you” in a language that’s only his. I could write, talk and sing about my children.
What I mean is that I don’t know how to write about autism.
And that’s not my fault. It’s because I love my children that I don’t write about autism. It’s because I love three autistic people more than anyone else I’ve ever known that I don’t write about autism.
The internet is brimming with blogs written by parents of autistic children sharing details of the tragedy of their lives, the hardships, the ‘victories’, the regrets, the vaccines (or not), the meltdowns, the poo smearing, the anger, the pain, the BEWARENESS. That isn’t me. Those people make me angry and sad, and angry some more.
Because autism isn’t a tragedy.
My husband is autistic. He is the most beautiful, kind soul. He is fiercely intelligent and lacking in all common sense. He can be selfish and stubborn and silly, and looks amazing without a shirt on.
My eldest son is autistic. He is a star, as close to an actual embodiment of a twinkling celestial ball as is possible. I don’t know what universe he’s from but it must be a magical, enchanting place. He’s funny and creative and so innocently charming that it makes my heart flutter. He can be feisty and bossy too, but so, so sweet. He sees the world through his own kaleidoscope and it is simply beautiful.
My youngest son is probably autistic too. He hasn’t been diagnosed yet as he’s still so young and the process is more complicated, but we believe he is, as does his speech therapist, and we’re waiting to hear on his referral. He is my baby, my two-year-old-but-more-like-a-one-year-old. His favourite place to be is in my lap, whether he’s happy or hurt. He doesn’t speak at all, but his eyes sparkle with mischief and his smiles take over his whole body. He hiccups when he laughs too much. He feels with every inch of his body.
There are no tragedies here.
What I wish is that I could be an antidote to the vast wealth of negativity out there. A parent writing as an ally to my autistic family and the community as a whole, not as a victim.
Because I’m not a fucking victim. My children aren’t victims. My husband is not a victim.
(…Well they might be victims of an ignorant society, but certainly not of their neurotype.)
I hope to be that blogger, that ally. I want to throw my hat into the ring and use my privilege as an allistic adult to advocate for my children and fight for autistic rights and the recognition of neurodiversity. I care more about this than almost anything else in my life.
But right now there are other things waging war in my head. Some tangible, real life monsters – most not. I am tired, worn, drained. And everything I feel I want and need to say for the benefit of my family and to show my pride in them for being exactly everything they are gets lost on the journey between my brain and my fingers, and I no longer outwardly have the fluency to say everything the way it deserves to be said.
You might suppose I could write about my family without mentioning autism, but you’d be wrong because to understand autism as a concept you must first understand that it isn’t something that’s separate from my children. They don’t have autism. They don’t suffer from autism. They don’t live with autism. They are autistic. It is who they are. To write about our latest trip away or the loss of our dear pet or why Thom created a YouTube playlist for Tristan of themed hotel rooms would mean writing about them, and they are autistic. I can no more remove autism from my family than I can change the colour of their eyes. And I would never want to.
I want to write about my family more freely and confidently, knowing I won’t hurt them or their community with my tired words. I want to stand up and say, “I’m not a victim.”
I’m not a “warrior parent.”
I’m not an “autism mom.”
I’m Lindy, and I’m the luckiest wife and mummy in all the universe (and wherever Tristan’s from).
I just need a little time to do this right.