I came “out of the closet” and all I got was this lousy T-shirt…

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Yesterday was a quite a wonderful day and I actually have several ideas for posts right now so I really wrestled with which to write first. The most interesting in my repertoire right now was that last night was the time that I finally came “out of the closet” when it came to telling my friend’s about Jp’s developmental issues. Those that have been following me long enough know what a big step for me that is. I spent months hiding and avoiding the people that I claim I am closest to so to stand there and openly discuss the different things that I have been going through was a liberating and amazing feeling.

I was met with two responses. One that shocked me and one that was a huge sense of comfort. We had friends in from California. They are hippies. The real deal. The rope-sandel-wearing-I-don’t-believe-in-western-medicine-holistic-medical-marijuanna-shop-owning hippies. My friend’s wife told me that her oldest daughter, Jenna, had many of the same issues. She hardly spoke until the age of three and was always socially behind her peers. Now she is on the honor roll at 11. What a great thing for this Mamma to hear. In fact, when I was explaining the receptive language delay she looked quite surprised and even said, “You know, that is probably what she had! She never seemed to understand me at all!” Strange that she didn’t take her to Speech? Maybe a little, but they are hippies and that is just their way. She said she still struggles socially but the older she gets the better it is and that warmed my heart in such a wonderful way. Honor roll? Yes, please.

The other friend I spoke with is a pediatric nurse, believe that one or not, and one of my closest friends in the group. She was understanding and listened and even dropped a strange little tidbit on me. A mutual friend, one that seemingly dropped off of the face of the earth lately, has a son that she thinks has classic autism. Or, at least, my friend thinks he does. The mutual friend is still in heavy denial (which is why she is hiding and hasn’t posted on Facebook in months and months.) and I immediately felt her pain and want to reach out to her. It’s a lonely place that she is in right now and I feel like I should lend some support and understanding and perhaps turn her on to this wonderful community that has helped me process so much.

What a fantastic “coming out” party for me. It’s so funny, when you are going through it, you feel so alone, like there is no one else whose children are less than perfect (I have met Jenna and aside from being painfully shy would have never guessed there were any issues there at all) and then when you stand there -bare naked and praying not to be judged- that is when you find that we are all alike. That people worry and stress just like you. That this is something that maybe not everyone goes through but you are certainly not alone. It was a wonderful feeling. Unbeatable, really.

Even when everyone stared at Jp for the rest of the evening waiting for him to do something “weird”.

I couldn’t blame them on that one and he was actually amazingly behaved until he went to bed. But everyone kept giving me these hilarious compliments like, “His attention span is really good!” and “..but his eye contact is perfect!”. Yes, guys, I know. He’s pretty awesome. Thank you for seeing it with me.

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Childhood Development Parenting Parenting and Childhood Development

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Amber Perea View All →

I'm just living minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day.

15 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Our dear friends have an autistic daughter who’s almost 13 now. She’s sort of drawn to me for some reason (babies really like me for some reason too?) and it took me a long time to not be unecessarily protective of her when she was smaller. When you look at her, she looks just like any other kid her age, so when she acts out, people think she’s being rude or is just not well behaved for her age. Initially, I was always ready to pounce on anyone who even looked at her funny. I always wanted her to wear an “I’m autistic, what’s your excuse” shirt or something. Now, it’s just like Maddie, go be you and piss on everyone else. Lol. This is probably unrelated to your nice post, but I like to talk/type.

    • No, it’s understandable. I get the same reaction to Jp’s sometimes unreasonable antics in public. He’s huge for his age and looks over three so when he’s babbling and yelling and bumping into people without saying anything I get a ton of dirty looks. I used to get upset by it and now I just think it’s their problem, not mine. My kid is awesome and if you have a problem you deal with it on your own time. πŸ˜‰

      It’s good of you to be protective! It shows a lot of character. And I’ve always had the same reaction from kids with autism (I actually worked with them in my youth until adulthood and they were drawn to me like a flame) and I always thought it was because they sensed that mentally, I was just as young as they were! πŸ˜‰

  2. I remember sitting in the hospital after they told us Braxton would be transported to NICU. hubby and I looked at each other and I thought it and he said the words. He said all he could think about was not wanting to post anything about it on Facebook. And we didn’t. We didn’t even want to post pictures. For months we lied or left out details. When I finally started the blog I braced myself for certain criticism, but like you I was surprised at the outpouring of love and support. So many people who said “hey, I get it, I’ve been there or know someone who has”. It was such a huge relief and weight off my shoulders. Now I post stuff on Facebook all the time and bare my soul in my posts. I spent so much time “all alone,” thinking no one would ever understand. It was so great to finally be able to truly share our life experiences.

    • It’s so true! At first, I avoided Facebook like the plague but now it seems so silly in hindsight. What do we care what people think of our children…but more importantly, the kind of person that would be negative we don’t need in our life anyway!

  3. I just had this total lightbulb moment reading this.
    You know what? The reason any of us hold back from being honest or completely open is because we fear the rejection from our peers. The truth is, we are all in the same boat. Sometimes different ocean, but the same boat.
    There is nothing more liberating than being completely vulnerable, because by doing so we are freeing others too. Weird huh?
    Don’t base your decisions based on your expected reactions of others. People are assholes a lot, but sometimes, they sure surprise you.
    You’re kid is exactly as he is meant to be. You don’t need to measure him against anyone’s standard. That’s their shit, not yours. It’s someone elses scale of success. Don has it right. Piss on that!

    • I know! Kind of brilliant, really. You can’t live your life for the few a-holes in the world (they exist, they just aren’t my problem!) And we all have “secrets” or things that we keep from others for, as you said, fear of rejection. If someone can’t recognize that and chooses to judge me anyway…well, that’s your deal.

      And it is so funny to have a “secret” and the minute you tell the floodgates open with stories and similar journeys. Guess we all really are in the same boat, huh? πŸ™‚

  4. Yay! Glad that you had a positive experience. Maybe it will help you to trust and open up more? I am the opposite. When I have a problem with myself or one of my kids, I just want to talk about it incessantly. To a fault. So, the blog has been a good balance. i get to blog (talk) about things all I want, and people can choose whether or not they want to listen! πŸ™‚

    • I like to think it would teach me to open up more but I am, and have always been, a very guarded person. I would have to say that I am more comfortable that way (in person, at least). Though you’re not alone in wanting to talk about it. I may not want to in person but I can’t seem to shut up on my blog! And it is a great way to share without being forceful of your opinions! You’re right! You can click on the link or you don’t have to…I feel much less obtrusive. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you! And they are…wild to say the least. πŸ˜‰ They are the epitome of a “hippie” (except no “free love” lol). They went on a 45 minute tirade about how doctors and big government are working together to keep us sick so they only use all natural organic roots to heal their bodies.

      Gah! Calm down, guys! I’m just taking an Aspirin! LOL

      I kid, I kid, they are pretty great. And meeting friends like that comes once in a lifetime, I am certain. Or maybe much more often if you live in Los Angeles. Maybe it’s a hippie haven there. πŸ™‚

  5. I made what’s probably a social faux pas in assuming a kid I know was diagnosed and when his mother was telling me how embarrassing it was when he was having a meltdown when she was shopping with a parent who’s kids actually have special needs questioning it a bit. I know the shame that can get internalized from having special needs but not what a parent goes through to accept them. As you get used to coming out it will probably come as a relief to some of your friends who may be getting really impatient with holding their thoughts inside about your son.

    With a reason for the behaviours your son has people can hopefully be free to be supportive without spending time wondering why or even worse being judgemental about it. It must be hard to balance the fierce protection of your child against what you fear from parents around you. I am glad this went well for you. I bet your coming outs will be largely positive but eventually you will run into a subtype who actually will be much as you feared your actual hippie friend would be. They will know exactly why your son is the way he is and how to fix it. So it’s good to stock up on the positive.

    • I will keep putting the positive in the bank and if one person has anything otherwise to say…mamma bear protecting my cub will come out. I was expecting more of a negative reaction (though in hindsight, I don’t know why) so it truly was a nice surprise. πŸ™‚

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