Freakin Jerks Meet Autism Allies
A was away at summer camp this week, and we prepped in advance by scheduling some home improvements. Even though we knew the end result would cause anxiety for A, so would the actual process, so we decided to go for the less immediately stressful option for the rest of us.
It was not exactly fun to give up our week of rest to deal with dust, noise, dragging furniture around, and having other people in and out of our house, but we made it through. And we managed to have some fun too! We went to movies, and to the beach, and we also threw a party the night before we collected A from camp.
We seriously thought we would resent the upheaval more, but to be brutally honest, after all these years of living with autism, we found home improvement chaos and party prep to be very simple by comparison!
My good friend F stopped by midweek, and as she took in the madness, she said, “You know A is going to say ‘You people sent me away for this. Freakin jerks!’” Her read on him was so perfect that I was chortling over it all week.
I am always very touched by the people willing to accommodate our family. F is one of them. She comes to our house and sets up shop and cuts everyone’s hair with as much solemnity and care as if we were in some chic salon, and not in a suburban bathroom.
Allies pop up in the most unexpected ways. I shouldn’t be so surprised to find them. I guess we are mostly always so fatigued and trying not to impose our family’s quirks on anyone that we forget to ask for understanding.
We reached out to CertaPro Painters of Edison NJ for the painting part of our home improvement, and when we explained why we needed the work to be done this week, they really bent over backwards to make it happen. And they couldn’t have sent a quieter, more efficient guy. It all looks beautiful, and we hardly recognize our previously scuffy house.
I got a huge lump in my throat when CertaPro sent us an email saying that they were glad to do the job, that our family had made an impression on them, and that they had donated some money to Autism Speaks in our name. Who even does this stuff?
Allies, that’s who.
Allies are why families like ours believe in community. They are how we know that A is as loved as he deserves to be. They fix A’s nest, momentarily causing panic, but ultimately reassuring him that his home, his cocoon, is safe. They look after him at camp. They stay friends with us even though we cannot show up for everything. They accept A for who he is. They combine good intentions with solid action. And they rarely turn down an opportunity to be allies, even if it means stepping out of their comfort zones to do so.
Thank you, Edward Glasser of CertaPro, and to everyone who made this week possible for our family. And to those whose privacy I respect but are forever in my heart. I hope you know what you mean to us.