Last Tuesday Brandon and I were flipping channels and landed on the Pilot for Parenthood. It's a new show about a family whose dynamics remind me a lot of the family on the ABC show Brothers & Sisters--dysfunctional and at the same time loving. The show was just basically introducing the audience to everyone and then a family discovers that their son has Aspergers. It was VERY well played, too well in fact. Watching this father "see" that his son has Autism was painful. He played the experience perfectly. Brandon and I both teared up because we both remember so well what that felt like. For 2 days I was still in a funk. It was like I had been transported back a few years to the time and place when the bottom fell out of our lives.
I don't want to ruin it by giving you the details of the show, but you can watch Parenthood online here.
I hope the show was as telling for people not in our shoes as it was for us. I remember the day I realized that the Kynsie & Kyan's quirks that we once found cute & unique were actually red flags and not cute or unique at all. They were warning signs and we had been misreading them. I felt so betrayed, by my own ignorance. I had been seeing them, but I didn't see it. The elephant in the room. The big IT that mattered more than anything was right under our noses and we had no clue. That is a devastating place to find yourself. And parents do it every day. If you know a parent of a child with Autism, give them a hug. Pray for them. You may have no idea what their day to day life is like. Make them dinner. Offer to babysit their child. Encourage your child to play with theirs, even if its uncomfortable. Make the effort. Autism is lonely for everyone. Your support matters.