Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Good Bye And Thank You

When I started this blog it was a real effort to share my experiences as a father of an autistic little boy – my insights, concerns, pain, and also to laugh some.  It is part of the fabric of my life and the point was that I’m not taking my life too seriously (though I take Demetrius’ autism quite seriously) and I was going to ‘muse’ about it.
Most of the posting have been wrapped around those foundational elements, with periodic other subjects or segues from autism, but ultimately, I’ve been recounting the emergence of two members of the family (Maya and Super D) and our interactions with ‘it all’.
But everything has an ebb-and-flow, a beginning and end.  It is time to end this blog.

First, there was always the agreement between Kim and I, as the blog caught on, that at some point it would end.  We didn’t transfix a date or time, but I figured it would be some point around when Demetrius turned 10.  So it is.
Frankly, the stories of little boys with autism and toddler sisters are not that uncommon, and the ability to yarn a tale or twist the story in just a way to be humorous and solicit a chuckle, or a tear, is not that personal.

But the fact that Maya has real stress in her life, at the tender age of seven, that if she doesn’t hold Demetrius’ hand in a parking lot that he will be hit by a car and die, and it will be her fault, is just that – personal.  The fact that she’s dreaming about it, or lets be clear, this is no dream, this is a realistic nightmare where a dream should be, is really, well – don’t take this wrong, not any of your business.

The rub here is what some of you are thinking, well, you just did. That’s the point though, this is what autism is turning into in our lives, and the effects of it on the Grassos.  It is what is worth writing about, but not what should be put up on a server for the world to see.  What if this fear manifests itself and requires some counseling?  Do I want Maya’s friends, friends’ parents, or teachers, to see this? Absolutely not.  It may or may not be any of their business, but if it will be, it won’t because they read it on the blog.
Folks, this is where autism and the Grassos are going. This is the natural path. Demetrius will be 10 this year, he’s asking questions why he doesn’t have any friends; and my fears and worries aren’t something I want to spill into Microsoft Word every day.  How am I going to teach him to shave without slitting his throat?  My ankles aren’t getting any better no matter how much I run – and he’s getting faster.  He seems to be developing an angry streak that results in some periodic serious screaming sessions at Kim.  What if it gets violent?  Again, some of these are things that could be interesting to write about, but also none of your business.
I also need to be cognizant that as the kids age, they’ll want to make a decision on what about them is public and what isn’t.  I’m fairly certain that Maya will end up being a major blogger/social media maven as she has the itch to communicate at all hours she’s awake – but if she’s in therapy dealing with being the sibling of a special needs child, that’s her choice to communicate what that’s all about. Not mine.
So am I saying that our life is taking a ‘darker or more depressing’ tone? No, not at all.  I still love when Demetrius says to his mother when she tells him to talk to me on the phone, “Mom, I really need to watch Star Wars.  Daddy needs to work and be quiet.”

All of what I wrote above was expected to emerge over the course of time, and it has, it just isn’t what should be made public to everyone that clicks a hyperlink.
Real issues will emerge with the kids in their pre-adolescent and teenage years, and I just think blogging about it is an invasion of their privacy .  Further, the issues not written about would be the ones worth writing about, and that’s the value to you as a reader.

What does emerge that I think is fair game – doesn’t lend itself to this blog.  The daily gentle musings of being a father to a daughter that says ‘totally’ and a boy who wants both red and blue lightsabers, is normal.  I’m laughing and chronicling a normal aspect of a life.  That’s important, sure, to remind everyone that someone has to pretend to be the Sith Lord in a backyard battle with a high functioning autie, but it wouldn’t be what I think I should be writing.  And that’s my rub.
I think for awhile I’ll be lost not have the cathartic outlet that this blog has provided to me.  I have often thought that I’m so lucky Dan Greenfield convinced me to do this, because I had so much to say about our autistic life and to live in a time that enabled me to do so, interact with some other parents in the same boat, by just banging on a keyboard and clicking the button ‘post to blog’.
I want to thank every single reader that ever spent any time here.  Many of you comment, and I withhold. That was done by design as I wanted the blog to have a positive feel, not turn into a pity party or a cry session.  I know from this site I’ve had many online/email discussions with other daddies trying to get their arms around a diagnosis of their son/daughter.  I mostly wrestled with this decision with you in mind on whether to keep going or not, those who probably have yet to ever do a Google search on autism and dads. But I’ve made my mind up and I know: there will be other bloggers.
A few things I’ve learned is that it does take a village of therapists and doctors and caring teachers and administrators and interested neighbors and parents, to make it through this.  If it were just us, well, Demetrius would simply not be as well off as he is today.

And don’t listen to Jenny McCarthy, you can’t fix autism.
Good luck to each and all of you. This has been fun, and saved me a lot of money in therapy bills ☺.  And I will miss writing to anyone who was interested in reading. Good bye for now.

Posted by Jerry in 18:45:29
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