Thursday, June 6, 2013

Missing out, or is he?

While Morgan and his brother were playing in the pool other day, I was in conversation with a woman whose nephew is Autistic, around seventeen years of age, I think. She was talking about how withdrawn her nephew was at Morgan's age and even now. That it's painful to watch him hang out around other kids because he doesn't seek them out.

I pointed out that Morgan doesn't really do that, either. He'd, while we were talking, moved away from a group his brother was gravitating to and was doing his own thing. He was completely in his own little water world and content. 

"But aren't you ever worried that he's missing out?" she asked me.

I knew what she meant by her question. I got it and yes, I worry that Morgan is missing out on camaraderie by not having a lot of friends. But the thing is, I know that he probably couldn't handle having a lot of people over at once. We've tried that, multiple times. Morgan just works better one on one. And even then, the situation can be dicey.

How many kids his age are going to want to play Thomas the Tank Engine? Or watch the same video over and over?  He's recently gotten into playing Mario Kart, so there's something that he could do with someone else.

I've been mulling over her question for most of the week. When I think of my son living his life, even now, and people ask me things like "aren't you afraid he's missing out?" in reference to a "normal" childhood, I have to say "no." 

What's this "normal" thing, anyway? What is it?

Is it growing up with a loving family, a couple of friends, and a dog? My son has that.

Playing Angry Birds? Swimming like a fish? Having a sleepover? We can check those off of our list.

Going to an amusement park? Going to the beach? Going on vacations? We've done them all.

We're not allowing something like Autism to stop Morgan from doing a single thing, so it's a bit confusing to me when people think he's missing out on something he might not even be interested in. I know he wants friends, so I encourage him to make one really good friend.

I've found, in life, that's really better to have a few really great experiences than a lot of mediocre ones. Morgan, I feel, is living his young life to the fullest that he can for now. He's eight years old. Things will change. My thinking about this probably will, too.

I used to think that, because Morgan is Autistic, his life would be interrupted. I was wrong. Morgan's life is his life. It's like no one else. Just like mine. There is no normal, not even with me. Especially when it comes to my life, when it comes to considering my childhood. But that's something to talk about for another time. Compared to my childhood, Morgan's is idyllic.

Missing out implies that there is something better out there. That Morgan is hurting in some way because his life might not be whole as a result of being Autistic. I refuse to see things like that. Morgan's a happy kid, all things considered.

Especially when we're in the pool, or at the beach, or playing with shaving cream. He's good.

Photo by: Ryanne Photography

Photo by: Ryanne Photography
Photo by: Ryanne Photography

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