Friday, February 17, 2012

"Nobody needs me!" A child's greatest fear...


I cry now just to think of it.  I cried yesterday after Ben reminded me of what he had said 11 years earlier.  He remembered that day...I didn't. I know he came home from school and started sobbing.  I never had really seen him cry since he was a baby.  I just thought he was tough. But he was sobbing, his little body heaving on the sofa, trying to capture his breath.

"What's the matter, honey?" I said, my heart beginning to break from the intensity of it.

It was very difficult to get Ben to talk.  He seldom used words that weren't echolalic, and if he didn't have a script, he was unable to find words.  It would be 3 more years before words would come to him naturally, unscripted, on a daily basis.

"Nobody needs me!" he said, and the sobs came around again.

I just thought, my God...we've just piled demand upon demand on this kid, punishing him for not having typical regard for stupid  activities...not understanding he was doing the best he could.

The greatest gift we can give to our children is to need them, just the way they are.  Don't forget that.

3 comments:

Happy Elf Mom said...

Wow, just can't imagine your life without Ben. OF COURSE you need him! And I think all autism parents (and maybe all parents to a lesser degree) have to go through that process of adjusting our expectations. It just isn't reasonable to expect certain things like we thought it would be. :)

Maddy said...

So true. I like the 'does your face light up every time I come into the room' ethos. [very approximate quote]

usethebrains godgiveyou said...

Thanks Mrs. C, thanks Maddie. I remember that quote from Toni Morrison...watch this tape, please, to see what I mean: http://www.oprah.com/oprahs-lifeclass/Does-Your-Face-Light-Up-Video

I learned a lesson that stays with me to this day, too. I'll never forget that. It is so joyful to see your child with loving eyes!