Most days, we don't notice Erik's autism very much. Sounds crazy, but we are all accustomed to it now. We are a family that generally runs on routines anyway, and my son fits into that fairly well. I've heard it said many times by parents of ASD kids lately; that what is normal for the ASD child has become normal for the whole family; this is true for us too. We are sort of isolated in terms of social life these days, so we don't really take notice of the fact that things are different here.
But every now and then, I see something that just drives it home again. Usually, another child of around my son's age, or even younger. Then, the difference seems huge.
Tonight, we had some people in our home who had a little girl only 1 month younger than our son. You could see the difference straight away. She was shy, and tired, but she engaged with eye contact immediately. She responded to questions. She looked to her mother for reassurance. She showed interest in the toys and books that we offered her. You could just see the difference so plainly. It hurt so much.
Both hubby and I felt sad tonight. I almost didn't know what to offer the little girl for entertainment, because I've forgotten what 2.5 - 3 year old kids like to do! This also made me sad.
We've done our grieving I think - there is always a grieving process when you learn that your child has a disorder; of any sort. We accept it, we love him, we are happy and grateful for him. But there are still times when we feel so deeply sad.