"How do you help a friend whose child just got an Autism diagnosis? All I can do is speak about my personal experience and listen to her. Any advice?"
I was quick to point out to her that she pretty much answered her own question. Make sure the newbie mom knows your thoughts are just that, yours. Plus, listen to her. I think she knew those were both good ideas but also wanted to do extra.
Which is something I can totally get. Long before this blog and being "Mama Fry", I was pretty open on my social media that I had a kid with autism. So every now and then a former classmate of mine would message me with "Welp, we just got diagnosed and...yadda, yadda, yadda, autism, etc..." I found myself simultaneously wanting to hug them, high five them, pour them a drink and drop all the knowledge and information I had on them at once.
Because I had been there. I knew how scary and overwhelming it was. I knew that what it was like to have a love/hate relationship with Autism. I knew that playing Dr. Google was a REALLY. BAD. IDEA. I knew how to butter up a receptionist at a local doctor with a long waiting list to get your kid in just a little sooner to see them. I knew how it would both bring you to your knees again and again to read all those reports the "experts" wrote on your kid. I knew how it would lift you higher than a mountain to see your kid prove them wrong.
I knew that sometimes a good cocktail could be made with Kirkland Signature Vodka and some Crystal Light drink mix in a Lighting McQueen cup. I had developed a very unique skill set.
But if there was ONE single piece of wisdom that I could narrow it down to. One mantra to repeat for now and forever it would be this.
Calm the Hell down or you are going to miss so much.
You will never get the do over you are craving. All of this will be gone in a flash. Suddenly you will be me and you will realize that you have missed so much. You don't get this back. Yes, some of this you wish you could have skipped all together. (Like the whole little to no sleeping thing. That can fuck right off.) But wishing he was little again and we could have at least tried some of the things I was so sure he could not do, I'd give anything to have that chance.
I see these newbs writing these gospel long descriptions of what their kid is doing or where they are at and I'm just like "Yeah but can't you just see them as 3?" Cause being a "threenager" is a very, very, real thing. No matter what the neurology. Let me tell you something, the real mark of the Beast isn't 666. It's muthatruckin' 3. Yeah, autism has behaviors and behavior is communication but sometimes your kid is just being their age. Just chill on this. Trust me on this one. Even though 3 can be evil, it can also be damn cute. Don't miss that. Before you know it you will have a great big old man child with hairy legs, as tall as you, and shoes bigger than your own. Enjoy each age, each year, even when they resemble Satan on a bender.
This isn't a Netflix series. You don't want to binge this stuff. Just enjoy each episode and side of fries.