As a parent, when you receive a diagnosis of autism, it is devastating. All of the hopes and dreams you had for your little one are in shambles. Initially, you harbor despair, resentment, anger, and even guilt. It seems as if all you see around you are those “perfect” parents with their annoyingly “perfect” children and their seemingly “perfect” lives. I decided early on that perfectionism isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and I’ll take my imperfect life over that any day, thank you very much. The fact that I had very little choice in the matter had nothing whatsoever to do with this blatantly obvious epiphany. One thing I’ve learned as a parent of three very challenging boys (Asperger’s, autism, ADHD) is that laughter is indeed an amazing panacea.
When David was four years old, the boys and I were waiting in the car while my husband was attending the final inspection of our new house. Five-year-old Jacob insisted he had to pee “really bad.” I happened to have an empty Seven Eleven Big Gulp cup in the car, so I told him he would have to go in it. After feigning disgust, he finally did.
The next week, we moved into our new house, an exciting time for us. As I was unpacking boxes and putting items away, I began to notice plastic glasses left on countertops, tables and dressers all over the house. Inside each was a mysterious yellow liquid…Jacob had seen his brother pee in a cup in the car and decided that was pretty cool so he did it too. This went on for about three months. To this day, none of us drinks out of a cup if we don’t know where it’s been, and we always follow this sage piece of advice: “Just remember, lemonade is always cold…pee is not.”