I don’t like the parent I’ve become.
Afraid of taking my kids out in public.
Afraid of how they’ll act.
Afraid of what they’ll do.
Afraid of how others will perceive them.
Afraid of how others will react.
Afraid others will judge.
Afraid to take a nap at home because they may run away.
And in the bigger picture…
Afraid for how their futures may turn out.
Afraid that we’ll still be taking care of them when they turn 30.
More than anything
Afraid of the neighbors.
I live in fear (and I know that sounds strong) of what the neighbors will do when they hear my autistic* kids screaming – or when they see my autistic* naked kid run outside with me chasing after them (the kids are all much faster than I am!)
I constantly (like every moment) live with a terrible fear of the neighbors & how they misjudge and misinterpret our lives and what they (have done or) might do as a result.
While I LOVE spending time with my children, I HATE being home with my children.
At home I can’t get away from this persistent concern: With all that’s in the news recently, I’m afraid the neighbors (who just.don’t.understand) may call the police or call CPS—because my kids behave like typical autistic* kids; afraid that the neighbors will never move away and that I’ll have to live next to these seemingly close-minded disapproving people for the next 10+ years while I hope to raise my children in this home.
What kind of world are we living in now—so many people calling the police or taking notes on moments of “bad” behavior and then reporting parents to the “authorities”, for doing what we must for our autistic* kids (which sometimes might look “off” to passers by.) In the earliest and most popular “handbook for humanity”, the BIBLE warns us of the perils of intolerance and the rush to “judgement”—whether borne out of piety and self-righteouness or ignorance and fear. [If you prefer a secular exploration of ignorance and intolerance, read Plato’s dialogues for Socrates’ take on Roman society]
2000 years later (I’m skipping over the Spanish Inquisition in the interest of brevity here), ruminating in the aftermath of the human race’s descent into Hell under the authoritarian regimes that gripped the peoples of Russia, China, Italy, Germany (and metastasized many other countries) in a state of perpetual fear and forced conformity. George Orwell warned us in his dark dystopian novel, 1984 about the sort of society this sort of artificially contrived, “imposed rectitude” inevitably produces. In the 1950’s Senator Joseph McCarthy helped us to experience this first-hand in modern times on our own shores (I say “modern times”, because we had “been there/done that” 250 years earlier in New England (“witches”, “Jews”,”communists”, “intellectuals”, “terrorists”, “liberals”, “wellfare Moms”, “atheists”, “illegal aliens”—just substitute the menacing “others” of the day and focus your fear and hate on them.)
You’d think we might have learned something from our painful past—but it seems as if Americans’ notoriously profound ignorance of history may be dooming us to revisit and expand upon these horrors!
What happened to compassion for strangers? To good will, the Golden Rule—reaching out to help, instead of being quick to judge? What happened to our humanity?
Today I was gently rubbing Avi’s (age 9) back at the picnic table in our yard while he threw his body at me repeatedly while SCREAMING at the top of his lungs.
The other day Charlie (age 6) ran outside naked and threw himself down on the ground SCREAMING at the top of his lungs for a good 10 minutes, because I told him he could not watch any more T.V.
On more than one occasion this summer A.J. (age 12) woke up (or went to bed) SCREAMING at the top of his lungs because of the chronic, persistent debilitating undiagnosed nonspecific abdominal and joint pain he has been going through since last September.
Living in constant fear sucks!
[A more detailed story about my neighbors calling CPS on us in May – for our children’s “normal autistic* behavior”…to be posted soon.]
Written by Tamara Rubin [With some input from my husband, Len]
MIsLEAD, America’s Secret Epidemic
Mother of Lead Poisoned Sons