It’s been fun pretending to be just, you know, a regular person, someone you might think has a good brain, good enough so you might like to work with them (which is my main reason for staying in London, after all. Work. Closeness to opportunities, that kind of thing. Everything else is a luxury.)
This week my child is turning 18. When people, even people I regularly see, and definitely the vast majority of people who only see me online, act surprised that I have a disabled child, and now a disabled grown-up child, I know why that is. I didn’t consciously mean to deceive anyone. I just know it’s easy to think of others in one dimension. And frankly, I never even wanted to be shoved into the ‘mum’ pidgeonhole.
(I love being a mum. I just don’t like to deal with others, or be dealt with, as *only* mum.)
But now my child is 18 and it is a kind of transition. For my child, obviously, but also for me. I’m turning from ‘mum’ to ‘carer’.
Because my child doesn’t need me any less than at 12 or 8. Maybe more.
My child is autistic and has severe mental health issues. I have, through the years, undergone a long learning process about what works and what doesn’t work. We are now very close and my child has periods of being quite productive, and tends to be lovely company – but we also have long periods of things being very difficult.
I blogged about what it felt like once and that post is still the most popular on that website, even though I’ve written about lots of other things. It would have been quite easy to just keep doing that and let rip with the self-pity – that somehow works online and you get a lot of support from well-meaning empaths. But you don’t really grow, or learn.
So rather than becoming the autism mummy blogger (it’s a recurrent joke in our household), I always figured I could live on the strengths of my intellect and my ability to work.
I am glad that I never went down that route. I have made mistakes but never anything so big that it would destroy the trust my child has in me. And blogging about my child would definitely have done that.
My lesson from all this: Never underestimate the ability of an autistic person to look right through you – your intentions will be more important than anything else in your interactions with them.
In any case. I’m putting this out there and there will probably more posts about how I’m feeling this week. I apologise in advance.