Yesterday my father in law sent James and I a book. The book in question is called Living with Jonathan by Sheila Barton. A book about parenting autism. Her story and her journey with her little Jonathan. From reading the blurb on the back, I knew I would relate to her story and looked forward to reading it. My darling father in law has introduced me to quite a few books, shows, interviews and factual documents about autism over the past year or so. Each one I accept, thankful for how much he care’s, yet I cant read any of them. This particular book, I got to page 7 before I had to put it down. It was the book or my tears.
As I sit with an abandoned book at my side, compelled to write, I have a heavy heart and water filled eyes. I want to read but I just can’t. It hurts. Deep inside. I’m filled with fear, grief, guilt, pride, loneliness and love. As I’m reading about a scenario that is met with utter patience and compassion I cant help but look at my own parenting skills. How I manage autism and how we as family consider Hayden’s needs with what we do or do not do. How much my other children are affected by his differences and whether life will get easier in the future.
A year ago my father in law introduced me to a book called The Reason I Jump. Written by a Japanese boy that has found alternative ways to communicate who wanted to share the reasons for some of his behaviours. That night I read half of the entire book. My eyes filled with tears by page two. I felt guilty. Guilty that I had disregarded so many of Hayden’s quirks as annoying behaviours. Things that made me cross and caused me to unintentionally raise my voice and make my misunderstood son cry. That book still sits unfinished.
Whilst I question my parenting, just as much as any parent on the planet, I know I am doing my best. Some days are good, some days are bad, the same as every other household. I can’t do better than my best. But sometimes I can better myself, and that isn’t a bad thing either.
I can’t read anything about autism anymore, whether it be educational articles or factual novels. I also cannot bring myself to read about developmental milestones. I question things about Kinley on a daily basis yet I am scared to look anything up. I fear I’ll read something the makes me start believing he is also autistic. I have no idea what a 16 month old should be doing. And I’m not going to find out any time soon.
Reading blog posts, however, I am fine with. Maybe because I have to as part of the Spectrum Sunday linky I host. Would I search out those posts without my linky? I’m not sure. Am I supporting these writers just because of my linky? No; I am supporting them as bloggers and parents, feeling, experiencing and doubting similar things to me. Reading about how other parents manage their day to day life is what I enjoy. Although many of the autism related posts have been read through watery eyes.
Is this part of the acceptance process? Is this something I will ever overcome? Will I be able to one day sit and read a book that fills my heart with warmth, love, and familiarity? Or will I always find these pieces of literature hard to swallow?