Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

I didn't used to be a worrier.

Did that sound convincing? In all honesty, I have always worried, but not like I do today. Like most parents, much of my worrying centers on David's (and Andrew's) future...and the present…and the guilty worries about things that I should have done differently in the past. Okay, just STOP. And please don't notice that my left eye has been twitching for about the last three months.

So, I was shopping at an undisclosed discount store a few weeks ago (undisclosed for reasons which will be disclosed later) and one of the employees commented on my purchases. I am usually philosophically opposed to people making remarks about what I am buying at the store, probably because I always read too much into what was meant to be a simple observation. "Looks like you have a fun weekend planned." What about a mega pack of baby wipes and a bottle of wine says fun weekend to you?

Anyway on this particular occasion, I realized from this person's comment that not everyone buys every red shirt that they (the people at this unnamed store) stock for the upcoming season. I explained that my son has autism and really only likes to wear red.

We talked for a few more minutes and, as I was swiping my credit card, she told me that she has Asperger's Syndrome. I guess it is the first time that I have met an adult "on the spectrum" who wasn't being introduced at the autism conference, or on a panel, or being interviewed on television. There she was, living her life. She has a job and had mentioned that she has a daughter. And then she told me that her co-workers do not know—hence the veil of secrecy. I almost blurted out, "Are you happy?"

I guess all of my little auxiliary worries (if I were to put them on a worry scale similar to the Scoville scale for peppers and no I am not obsessed) are really just the jalapenos of worries. Does it matter whether or not David goes to college, or has a wife or family? Not really. Those are the things that I used to think were necessary for happiness. Really, my habanero of worries centers on whether or not my boys are happy. And right now, most of the time, David is the happiest kid I know. So I guess my eye can stop twitching for the moment.


  1. Thanks for sharing this. I met a girl a couple of weeks ago. She was funny, sympathetic, confident and friendly. She told me how satisfying her job was. THEN she told me she was on the spectrum. I was so happy to have met her that I almost cried. Knowing that our kids can be happy is the most precious thing ever.

  2. This made me think of Zack. I love Zack. He bags groceries at my local store. I go out of my way to get into his line. He's awesome. He always "plays" a little with Little Bird. She gets she and pulls her hat over her eyes and he teases, "where'd she go? I can't see her anymore!"
    Zack clearly has something going on, some kind of disability. He's got a good, important job (I can't bag my own groceries when I'm dealing with Little Bird, trying to pay, and chanting in mind "don't forget the coupons!"), he's very happy, and he's fun.
    When I see him, I feel a lot better. I'd be fine if Little Bird became a Zack. Because Zack's super cool !!

  3. You know, I just kind of had this thought this week. My plans for my own future that I think will bring me happiness isn't necessarily what Brian is going to need to be happy when he's an adult. It's a great way to think about it- and hopefully it will stop all of us from having nervous breakdowns.

  4. I was a complete worry-wart mess before I had Audrey, so you can just imagine how "habanero" I am now.

    On another note: it makes me so batty when checkout people comment on my purchases. Shouldn't they be trained that that is a no-no? The only time they seem to shutup is when I have like 10 feminine hygiene items. "Looks like you have a fun weekend planned"....

  5. okay, you're totally making me cry today...but I loved this post., is she happy?