Adventures in Autistic Parenthood

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

That Doesn't Mean I Don't Have it Tough:

They (whoever 'They' are) always say 'Misery loves company'. I personally think that's total horseshit. Think about it. When you're down in the dumps, kick-the-cat miserable to the point were even Lurch seems happy and people on Prozac piss you off by flaunting their cheerfulness, what is it you actually want around you? Other than the occasional perky person that you're allowed to strangle, that is. You don't want people who're just as miserable as you are. What's worse than one person bitching about how screwed-up life is? Add one more, and all you'll get is a pissing contest about how one of them is in a deeper cesspool than the other one. And how much fun does that sound like boys and girls?
No, when you feel the heavy blanket of doom settle around your shoulders what you don't want is someone who's life is just a more fucked-up version of yours. Oh, I guess it's morally uplifting if they're soldiering through or they've pulled themselves out of the mud when they've found themselves in a hole just a little deeper than the one you appear to be in with a slightly larger truckload of manure just backing up to start dumping on them. Unless you actually are a self-centered moron who just likes watching that sort of thing, you naturally want to reach out and help in some fashion. But sometimes things are so extreme you have no idea where to even start, and saying 'I sympathise' sounds (and feels) really really trite. 

I want it stated for the record (sorta) that I didn't start this blog to air my trials and tribulations dealing with raising an autistic child. It was originally (and for the most part still is) a way for family and friends to hear stories about and see pictures of Dude without my actually having to do anything but babble via my keyboard. This is my cheapscate way of getting out of thousands of dollars in travel expenses as they all live many, many miles away from me. (not sure if it's their choice or mine)
 But recently I started doing something I've never done before. I started looking at other blogs written by parents of special needs kids. I was researching statistics on 'single parents of handicapped children' for something else I was writing, then got curious and Googled 'Single Dad handicapped child statistics' and in and among the links for actual statistics was 'Single Dad-Disabled Daughter'. I read several of his posts and kept saying to myself, 'Man, this guy's got it tough!.' He has two kids, the first two ever diagnosed with a condition that makes autism sound like a summer cold. His daughter lives with him and his wife (divorced) has his son in another state and living in a 'care facility'. (wonder if she's a redhead)  From where I'm standing this guy's 'hole' is the size of the Kennicot Copper Mine and they've got the 8th Air Force making manure-bombing runs with B52's. And he seems to be handling it all with drive and humor and a lot less bitterness than I could manage. I'd be grabbing my gun and looking for a clock tower somewhere. This guy is way outta my league. It's like Mother Theresa to a lapsed Catholic, I just can't relate. (the analogy is also true in and of itself).

I looked at several blogs on his Blog-roll, and naturally enough they were mostly by parents of severely handicapped children. All of which had much higher licenses to whine than I do. I actually started to become offended, like their tribulations in some way negated mine. In a fit of total psychosis I even snarled at the monitor, 'Just because your kid is screwed up, doesn't mean mine isn't.' What I actually said was even more ridiculous but that's the gist of it. Then it kind of hit me. I'm almost certain that there's a group of 'typical' parents out there that feel the same way when looking at the troubles I, and other parents like me, have with our children. It's got to be a natural, if rediculous, reaction to imagine that someone else's trials and tribulations make your complaints sound rather silly.

   Let me state my humble, yet all knowing opinion: Raising any child is tough. It's the hardest, most thankless job ever invented. As a parent you have no idea if what you're doing is even the right thing to do, or the right time to do it. You'll probably never see, or understand, the effects of what you're doing and even then you'll never be sure. It's always easier to figure out where other people are doing it 'wrong', and all those other nosy people don't know what the hell they're talking about with their 'critisisms'. Your parents had it much easier than you do, and your children will never be as apreciative of their parents as you are of yours.
   It's like Dante's Circles of Parental Hell, people. Or being banished to Cleveland. We're all in 'hell' it's just a matter of degree. Yes, I have it tougher than a lot of parents. No, that doesn't mean they don't have it hard. And: No, it doesn't mean that there aren't people out there that look at what I do and go, 'Pththh! Please! I'd take your life in a heartbeat!'
   If I had a point it would go something like that, anyway. 


  1. My grandmother, Pearl, always said "If you and your friends put all your problems on a table and look at them, you will take yours back."

    I have my hell, you have yours. They cannot be compared, other than the amount we each struggle. I may struggle more or less if I was in your hell, but that is moot.

    But damn, I'm staying out of Cleveland.

  2. Staying out of Cleveland is always a good policy. And I'll go Grandma to Grandma with you. My Grandmother, Mildred, used to say," You'll be suprised at what you can do once you're doing it" Well Grandma, I for one am completely shocked.

  3. Trust me normal kids, sometimes are hell on wheels for their parents. So I take my life any day and say it's better than having a child that nearly seems spawned by the Manson family. I have an autistic child too and I can't imagine him any other way.

  4. There is always someone who has it worse than you. I bet someone could top even SingleDad's situation, although undoubtedly he's got lots of special needs credentials and he is hard to compete with. For instance, I know of a family with triplets who all have Angelman syndrome ... however, they are a two-parent business and they are not dealing with SingleDad's ex so I'm not sure if they are really worse off.

  5. I'm always honored to have comments by 'The Commited'. Firstly, thanks for reading.
    Sandy: I'm glad you think so.
    C: I have three typical children from a previous marriage. I'm not sure which is tougher, autistic boy, or twin-boys. It's a toss-up. And my oldest daughter still makes me nervous.
    Erika: I still have to find out if Single Dad's ex is a redhead to see if I've had anything tougher than he has... lol

  6. She's been dying her hair since she was 20, I think. Hence, no real clue. Ok, a real clue, and I think not.

  7. So there's ONE thing I deal with that's more difficult than Single Dad... I don't think that makes me win, or anything... lol But it kind of makes my point. If I had one.

  8. I'm new here through SingleDad and thought I'd say that everything is about perspective. When we lose perspective we lose everything. As I get older I start to demand it of people -- that we all, including myself, have perspective.

  9. Very true. Perspective always colors judgement. The difficult thing is to remember that other's perspectives sometimes differ from yours. And being new is a self-correcting problem... just wait... lol