I thought I kind of had this parenting thing worked out. Not that I feel accomplished exactly, but I had a groove, a sort of tempo. Wrong!! If I find out something or hear something that I have never thought of or contemplated before, it rocks my world. It does not stop me from functioning or maintaining my focus where it needs to be, but it’s that tap tap tap in your brain that you can’t shut off. It’s like someone continuously tapping you on the shoulder and you say “ok, I got it, back off”, but secretly you don’t which is why they keep tapping. Highly distracting to say the least. Recently I was talking with some friends who also have a boy with autism, not really a boy, but a young man, a little older than Bryan. I highly respect these friends and have learned much from them, as I mentioned their son is a little older than Bryan. I feel we sort of have the same approach to autism which is no quick fix will work, you’ve got to put the time in and go for the stretch. Recently they mentioned they were considering getting their son a vasectomy. Wait, what? Yep, they were weighing the pros and cons of this procedure. I think it may be fairly obvious why, but at the same time, maybe not. It’s not just about the fact that maybe Bryan or a man with autism won’t understand birth control or how to possibly use a condom (oy) but it’s about preventing someone from manipulating or taking advantage of your son. I had NEVER, and I mean NEVER thought of this. My narcissistic self is upset, what’s wrong with me that I didn’t think of this, I’m a crappy parent, I’m not engaged, who am I? Once I work through that nonsense, which, by the way, is a complete waste of time and energy but also part of my processing, I now can focus on the issue at hand. Is there no end to the hurt and pain that is autism? Do I really need to spend time thinking about whether or not my son will have a life where he cannot be a father? Is it my right to determine this for him? (I have not discussed this with his father so clearly it would be a joint decision). Is it ok for me to take my son to have a medical procedure like this? Is it possible to get a brain off switch?
You see this conversation was about 2 weeks ago, and that damn tapping has not stopped. I am very action oriented. If there is something to do, I will do it. This is not that kind of thing and so the clarity may come over time, or not at all. My friends, as I said, are ahead of me because their son is a bit older. They have looked into the possibility of a group home and found a disturbing fact. If you have a daughter going into the group home she must be sterilized (what a shitty word). So another gender inequity, because the boys don’t need to be. Someone please share with me the discussion in the board meeting where that was decided, geez. I can push this away in the day to day sense. Bryan is not going anywhere any time soon, he is not quite 18 yet, and is not engaging in sex. And while I understand why people would do this in the objective sense, the personal sense, the subjective is quite difficult. The problem is the layers, the layers will get you:
- How would I discuss this with him, what words would I use? Getting the literal language right with him is so critical to get the meaning across. Not an easy task at all.
- Would he really understand what this means, and could he give consent or refuse?
- Do I/we have the right to make this choice?ugh
- How could I drive him to this procedure without hurling myself in front of a mack truck?
Each day the expression: little kids, little problems, big kids, big problems, becomes more of a truism. They need to have a new one for kids with special needs. Is it bad to miss the days of should we hold him back in second grade? There is no right answer here, there is only what feels right. I’ll get back to you.