While I was waiting for my son to come out of an operation recently, I found myself sitting next to Anne-Marie, a lady I know through a support group we both belong to, for parents and caregivers of special needs children.
It turned out to be exactly what I needed at that moment.
I am blessed to be the mother of two special needs children, one through birth and one through fostering. Neither of my children look like they are special needs, which makes it so much harder. People who don’t know them, and who don’t know their challenges, simply presume that they are being naughty or spoilt or simply rude. It gets increasingly frustrating to have to correct people, and believe me, when someone comments on how rude my son is being in the supermarket, you bet your ass I will correct them!
My eldest is autistic high functioning, which has a whole different set of issues. He is 14 and studying year 11, he will be ready to start university when he is just 16. He has a limited range of interests, and has no desire to interact with kids his own age as they are ‘ridiculous’. It makes for a very isolated life, for both of us. Tired of having to always explain why I can’t simply drop everything and head out for coffee, I simply stopped developing and forging friendships.
I didn’t realise how lonely I had become until I ran into Anne-Marie. Gosh how good it was to sit and talk to someone who actually really understands, who knows what my life is really like, because they too live it every single day themselves.
It was like talking to a second me! Truly a kindred spirit, I feel I have known her always, and I so look forward to future conversations with her.