My son likes the playground. I don’t . Since Jack’s diagnosis, I have come to loathe the playground. It’s full of “typical” kids and their “typical” parents talking about “typical” shit. It was much harder when Jack was younger because everyone else had kids that talked and developed “normally.”
A 12 year old, 120 lb kid stands out at a playground. Add in headphones and weird noises…and you’ve got a spectacle. Kids stare. I’m constantly trying to avoid eye contact with everyone there. It’s exhausting. Usually, 12 year olds are waaayyyy over going to the playground. They have moved onto sports, girls, skateboards, bikes.
Kids approach Jack and start talking to him. Or, ask they “kid” kind of questions: “Hey! What’s your name? wanna play?” My heart breaks. Actually, it SPLITS. IN. HALF. Then, I feel compelled to explain “well, Jack can’t talk…he has autism…”
Today we headed down to the playground. Jack touched EVERY mailbox on the way down the hill. (and back, I might add). He played on the slides, teeter totter and swings. He was so happy. And, that made me happy. One little boy approached him but he was so little he couldn’t talk either (BONUS!!) .
I blocked out the “typical” parents and just tried to embrace Jack and ….his stuff.
The weather was ideal. My kid was happy and he typed “I want to swing.” So, I pushed him and and for those brief minutes on the dreaded playground, life was good.
Almost 10 years later and I am learning that the playground is OK. I’m ok. My kid is OK and even if our life isn’t “typical,” I wouldn’t trade it for all the gin in the world.
Jack on the swings. Life is good.