As a mother, I am plagued with any number of fears about PJ and how he might develop as he grows up. I worry he might get sick, really sick, like cancer. I worry he might end up the family’s black sheep, addicted to drugs or in prison. I worry some girl is going to come along and break his heart. I worry some sick predator is going to do something much, much worse to him. I worry about car accidents, bike accidents, freak lightning, you name it.
But my biggest fear about PJ isn’t any of these. I’m terrified he’s going to be autistic. My life has intersected with autism a few too many times for me to brush it off as mere coincidence. I’m forced to wonder why so many autistic children have crossed my path, and the only conclusion I have is that I’m destined to be a mother of one of these special children.
Since it is Confession Thursday, though, I feel the need for complete honesty. I am horrible around people with special needs. I don’t know how to act and they make me uncomfortable. The time I’ve spent in the presence of autistic people was spent looking for a way to get out of their presence. I don’t have any clue how I would handle one of my own children being autistic.
The good news is that so far, PJ shows absolutely no signs of any problems whatsoever. He’s reasonably well-behaved and incredibly social. Barring unexpected acts of God, he should grow up to be an average, normal kid. I wish that reassured me, but it only does to a certain extent. I’m aware that he could start to show more signs as he grows up, as unlikely as that seems now. I’m constantly watching his behavior to make sure it’s completely normal.
Please don’t tell me I shouldn’t worry about this. I know that already. I don’t let the fear keep me from enjoying my son, and only M even knows this is a fear I have. He actually has the same worries, so we console each other about it. I know that if I am destined to have an autistic child, God will give me the strength to cope with it. I just think I’d rather be weak in this area.