Finding the magic from my soapbox


I normally don’t write much about our boys being on the autism spectrum, mainly because I don’t have much to say about it in the way people expect.

Today, however, is different, and I think what I have to say about it is of some value, just from a human perspective. I ran into this woman today, who on several occasions has tried to discuss autism at length with me. Mind you, I do not know her name, nor am I really sure she knows mine, but through mutual acquaintances, she knows about the boys landing on the spectrum. That said, I am more than willing to have discussions about it, and we are very open about the subject.

Before this woman had a child, she read me the riot act because when she asked if we vaccinated our children, I was honest and said ‘yes’. Once she had a child, she told me I had ‘drank the water’, and vaccines were the reason my children were autistic. Today, I saw her and I could feel my cheeks burn, the hair on my arms prickle, and my insides start to blister. And then I overheard her whispering to someone about my ‘choices’ to vaccinate.

I ignored her, and once I got in my car, I started crying. This is what I wanted to say to her today: please stop judging me, I am doing the best I know how. Yes, we are open about our boys having autism. We are open about it, because to ignore it would mean we are embarrassed, and, I assure you, we are not.

I don’t have the answers to why both of our children have this. Listen, I get it; people want reasons. While I pray daily about them, God hasn’t given me an answer as to ‘why’, and I have stopped expecting one, because I’m pretty sure he sees the big picture when I don’t.

If you don’t know the parent you are judging, just stop. And if you do know them, proceed with kindness. I can tell you that I am doing the very best that I know how. Do I make mistakes as a mother? Oh, hell yes. But, so does every mother I know. When you ask someone that you don’t know at all, ‘have you thought of this or that’, you are essentially saying to them, ‘have you thought of this reason to blame yourself?’ There is nothing, I repeat, NOTHING, you can say to me that I haven’t already questioned in my mind during sleepless nights. I see the way you look at me and talk when you think I can’t hear you. I see the sympathetic, disdainful, and critical eye rolls you toss my way when my kids are acting insane, or only wearing costumes because he lives in an alternate reality. I know you thank God every day that he didn’t give you a child like mine. I am aware of all of these things, and while I cried the whole way home today because I wanted to be nasty to you in return, I chose not to judge you.

I chose not to judge you because I think you are doing the best that you know how. I can tell you, when we stopped asking ‘why’, something in our house changed. All of the time and energy spent on trying to find a reason has been replaced with what I like to call ‘finding the magic.’ The boys have talents I could only dream of, and they give us a whole new perspective on the world. Our youngest one literally sees the world as a magical place.

So, my advice from my soapbox today is to stop judging and instead come from a place of kindness. We are all fighting battles. Everyone has challenges. Some you can see, some you cannot, and I choose to believe we are all doing our best. And, if you are wise enough to live authentically, you will find your own magic.



24 thoughts on “Finding the magic from my soapbox

  1. I am so proud that you are my daughter! I wish there was some way you could get this message out to the world because you stated it so simply and eloquently! And it needs to be heard by all the other Mothers who share the same struggles. I am amazed by your boys and the joy they have brought to all of us. People with narrow minds, have small hearts. That’s why they have difficulty dealing with children who have big open hearts…autistic or not! I’m even prouder that you chose not to lower yourself to her level, and were the gracious one. Bless her little heart. Maybe she didn’t realize how common she was behaving? As you get older, you will find yourself ceasing to waste your precious tears on those who’s opinions don’t matter. As we have seen from stars like Jenny McCarthy, people seem to be opinionated, not educated. Lol.

  2. DeAnn Arnold, since you’ve known me for a very long time, I think you know with some certainty that it definitely crossed my mind…. Does that mean I’m finally a grown up? Choosing not judge versus another option?? 🙂

  3. Amen and bravo!!! All three of our children have some sort of learning difference, including our daughter who has very significant special needs. I too found that when I stopped asking why I was able to fully enjoy my children and our life. I am always amazed at how people need to “find” an answer and love to find a reason to explain and even blame me for my kids issues. Surely I must have done something to cause this. I get why people need to feel this way, if they can prove we did “something” then they can live with the delusion that nothing “bad’ can ever happen to them if they only do the “right” things. Nobody wants to think that you can do everything you are supposed to do and still things can happen. I think it’s human nature. It is a strange gift and blessing to know that life happens and only we can chose to see it as a blessing or a curse. My children are the best thing that ever happened to me and my husband. They are amazing people and it is a blessing to watch them work so hard and achieve the things that others either take for granted or said they would never achieve. Thank you for a wonderful post!!

  4. This is lovely. I’m sorry that woman caused you pain, but I thank you for sharing your experience with us.

  5. There is zero scientific evidence to support the idea- it’s not even well-supported enough to qualify as a theory- that vaccination causes Aspergers, and a host of research that actually says it does not, and tons more research about the importance of vaccines. You made the best choice for your kids, knowing that they are social beings that contribute to this world. I hope that after your initial, understandably emotional reaction, you’re able to hold your head up and you don’t let this ignorant girl get to you.

  6. Actually the idea that vaccines cause autism is not even well supported enough to qualify as a hypothesis, theory is about on par with factual information on how something happens. There is no evidence vaccines are at all linked to autism.

    Obviously I wouldn’t recommend doing it, but that woman deserves a slap to the face. NOT vaccinating children who are healthy enough to be vaccinated (there are some instances it is not a good idea) not only puts that child at risk of some pretty terrible diseases, but it also puts other children at risk (as mentioned not all children can be vaccinated, and then there are children whose immune systems are not strong enough for the vaccine to be effective).

    This is one of those things you absolutely should judge her for. Putting other peoples children at risk and then shaming parents who do the right thing is just not OK in any sort of way.

    Also, there have been studies showing more and more genetic links to autism (not the only cause, but an influence in something that has a complicated causation). From some of the recent studies, it absolutely makes sense that families with one autistic child would be more likely to have another.

  7. You are so right. We have no idea what people are going through each day. Why not try kindness and caring instead of judgment and insensitivity? I just found your blog and I have a feeling I will be visiting often!

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