On the way out of the grocery store today with Brooke this afternoon, I watch a father trying to coax his 20-something year old, 6’2″ son with what appeared to be autism into the store – the father was gentle and obviously skilled after however many years of having to do what he was doing, but he was still having extreme difficulty convincing is son it was time to go in.
I could not help, but for a moment, feel anger – not toward the father or the son, but to the situation and whatever deity put them in that situation.
I know children seldom grow into the expectations parents have of them – Lord knows that A) in some ways, my life is completely different from what my dad envisioned for me and B) my own children have already changed (not for better or worse) what I envision for them as adults – but I can’t imagine that this father, some twenty plus years ago thought that he would be doing what was required of him today. I imagine he foresaw his son leaving for school or taking a job and living independently.
Autism and other debilitating disorders do that – they don’t just change the dreams we have for our kids, they can crush them.
Brooke was brushed more lightly than others with autism. She does not have Asperger’s, but she is verbal and she is socially motivated. I see a kid that wants to be part of society, wants to contribute…someway, somehow.
Maybe my long-term expectations are high; maybe they are unrealistic…
…maybe part of the reason that I got a little angry this afternoon was that I was afraid that I was getting a glimpse of the future…