“I WANT IT! I WANT IT, I WANT IT, I WANT IT!!”
I was 20 years old, standing behind the child that “WANTS IT!” No, I had no idea what IT is. All I knew was: this kid was annoying.
I had no idea about autism. I had no idea about invisible special needs.
But, I was sure that when I had kids, there were things my kids were NEVER going to do:
- They were never going to talk back.
- They would never be rude
- They would never fight
- They would never sleep in my bed
- And they would never ever EVER throw a temper tantrum in a store. I had vowed while witnessing this event that my child would NEVER do it.
Then I had kids. I had vowed to be a good parent, and I had a mental list of the things I expected from my kids:
- They would always use the magic word. “Please” and “thank you” are words they must use.
- They will play well with others
- They will get good grades. If they did not get good grades then they had better put A LOT of effort in to try
- They will always be a good sport
- They will respect their elders
- They will listen to me
- They will eat their vegetables
- They will do their chores
Of course, there was screaming in stores. I would stare straight ahead, but was always conscious of who was watching and listening to the sound of the screaming. Who was shaking their heads. Who was young enough to be putting this event on their “NEVER” list.
Then autism entered our lives. And I learned about autism, something I knew nothing about before.
And my list of expectations changed.
- Just try your best.
I stopped using “never.” I found if I actually want to sleep, I may need to have a child with me. Our goals became my list of expectations. When we reach a goal, we celebrate.
And when there is screaming in a store, I no longer look around to see who is watching. I look down to see how I can help a person in distress.
I realized every success is a gift. Every milestone reached is a milestone I did not think they would reach before.
And every goal obtained is a true blessing.